Sheriff Accused of Threatening Church Youth Group With Gun After They Left Thank-You Note

Idaho’s Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland was accused of threatening a church youth group with a gun after they left a thank-you note.

On Tuesday, Rowland was charged with aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and misdemeanor exhibition of a gun by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, according to East Idaho News.

Rowland agreed to take a leave of absence after the allegations came out in November and an investigation was opened, although he still has his elected position as sheriff, East Idaho News reported. After the investigation ended, he went back to work, Bingham County Prosecutor Paul Rogers said.

Investigators with the Idaho Attorney General’s office wrote in court documents that a youth group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was partaking in an activity on Nov. 9 in which they delivered thank-you notes to the congregation members. The girls, aged 12 to 16, had written notes shaped like turkeys, calling them “thankful turkeys,” East Idaho News reported. They taped the notes to congregation members’ doors, rang their doorbells, then ran away before they could be seen.

Seven of the youth group members, along with an adult leader, traveled to Rowland’s neighborhood to leave a note for the sheriff and his wife, court documents stated. Members of the youth group and Rowland all reportedly told investigators in separate interviews that Rowland stopped their car from leaving, dragging the adult driver by her hair out of the vehicle, and pointed his gun at her head, yelling profanities at her.

“I say, ‘Who the f*** are you?’ And I do have a gun in my hand, but I still have my finger on the slide,” Rowland told investigators, according to court documents, East Idaho News reported.

Craig Rowland, Charged, Threaten, Gun, Youth Group
Members of the youth group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Bingham County Craig Rowland all reportedly told investigators in separate interviews that Rowland stopped their car from leaving, dragging the adult driver by her hair out of the vehicle, and pointed his gun at her head, yelling profanities at her. In this photo, is a view of the San Diego California Temple is seen on Aug. 8, 2020, in La Jolla, California.
RBL/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Eventually, Rowland went back to his home and the group was able to leave, according to the court documents.

The investigators said Rowland told them that threats had been made against him and his wife in recent months and he was worried about people coming to the home.

“I have been doing this job for 36 years,” Rowland said in a statement in which he also disparaged the people on a nearby Indian reservation, calling them “not good people” and saying their proximity was the reason for his actions.

Rowland is scheduled to make his first court appearance in the case on Dec. 22. He has not yet had the opportunity to enter a plea.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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