El Monte Police Chief Ben Lowry dies at 45 of unspecified ‘health issues’
A day after the former police chief was indicted on eight counts of sexual misconduct, San Bernardino County district attorney Michael Ramos announced Friday that he had placed Chief Lowry on administrative leave while his investigation continues.
Lowry, who was placed on leave last month, had served for nearly two years as the city’s police chief. The department suspended Lowry in September in light of allegations from two female officers that he had made unwanted sexual advances toward them and that he made unwanted sexual propositions aimed at them.
Lowry was cleared of three felony charges after an internal investigation but was indicted on the two remaining counts — sexual battery against a minor and oral copulation without consent against a minor.
Lowry was removed from his position at the helm of the city’s police department in August after San Bernardino Superior Court Judge John Wojtas ordered him to step aside until his investigation was complete. Lowry’s attorney, Jim Gilliam, said Lowry was removed because he failed to notify officials and undergo a psychological evaluation.
Lowry’s attorney said he will argue his client should remain on leave while the district attorney’s investigation continues. He acknowledged that he was surprised Lowry was charged with sexual battery against a minor, which is a serious crime punishable by up to 50 years in prison.
“They brought it in because it was a felony charge,” Lowry’s attorney said. “I’m kind of surprised it wasn’t a misdemeanor charge. There was some confusion between the district attorney and the chief.”
In a statement, the district attorney’s office said: “Based on the evidence obtained during the investigation, Chief Lowry’s actions constitute sexual battery on two minors, and are therefore a criminal offense.”
Lowry was married for more than 60 years to Mildred Lowry, who died in 2014. His attorney, Gilliam, has said he could not comment on the case because Lowry is not at his home in Redlands at the moment.
The chief’s daughter, Kristin Lowry, said in an interview Friday that her father was shocked to learn that he had been charged with a felony.
“We are all shocked at this,” she said. “We are all just waiting for the