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Bingham County Sheriff accused of threatening youth group

BINGHAM COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - The Idaho Attorney General's Office has charged Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland with aggravated assault, aggravated battery and the exhibition or use of a deadly weapon.

This is in connection to an incident involving a church youth group last month detailed in court documents.

In a 10 page affidavit, investigators with the Attorney General's Office outline the events that led to charges against Sheriff Craig Rowland.

It states a church youth group was dropping off "thankful turkeys" - an arts and craft project - to their neighbors.

It says, "The girls would deliver the “thankful turkeys” by taping it on the door, ringing the doorbell, and running away before anyone knew who had delivered it."

The group had delivered most of them before arriving at the sheriff's home. 

The leader of the youth group - Chelsea Cox - dropped the girls off and parked at the end of the cul-de-sac, but says when the girls realized the sheriff was home, they ran away before trying again.

In an interview with the sheriff, he said he had just let his dog out and saw two people near his garage and that startled him.

Not long after, Rowland said he heard his front screen door open and a knock.

That's when he asked his wife to grab his gun and went outside.

Cox says as she drove away, the sheriff flagged her down with the gun in his other hand.

She stopped the car and attempted to get out.

In the report, both the sheriff and Cox describe him pulling her out of the car by her hair and asking her "Who the 'f' are you and what are you doing here."

That's when Cox identifies herself and tells him she is his neighbor who has lived next door to him for years.

Both accounts also describe the sheriff pointing a gun at Cox's head - and Rowland saying he could shoot her.

There were seven minors in the car whose statements also line up with what was detailed by the sheriff and Cox.

Sheriff Craig Rowland has been cooperating with the investigation.

Investigators also point out the sheriff was acting in his official capacity since the gun he used was his service weapon.

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