One evening after the school year ended, Owens later told police, she took Dinh out after getting permission from his parents. They went to a movie and then to Ruby Hill Park in southwest Denver. While sitting in the park, the teacher began kissing and rubbing her student, and she guided his hands to rub her. With her clothes still on, she straddled the 45-pound boy, rubbing herself on his midsection until she had an orgasm.
A few days later Owens took the boy to her apartment for lunch. They both removed all of their clothing except for their underwear and again had simulated intercourse. She says she reached orgasm and then got dressed and took him home.
In the next incident, Owens picked up the boy for what sounds a lot like a college date. They went to a movie at the Tivoli complex, then went to the parking lot, where she kissed him and rubbed his genitals while guiding his hands to do the same for her. Then she took him home to his unsuspecting parents.
Their next "date" was at the Cinderella Twin Drive-In Theater, where they watched a movie and engaged in more heavy petting. After that came a trip to the Cherry Creek Mall, where they had simulated sex with their underwear on in Owens's red 1995 Honda, which was parked in the mall parking lot.
Her last day with the boy--Saturday, July 6, 1996--was a long one. Owens picked Dinh up about noon, and the two went to several of the places they had been before, including Elitch's, the Tivoli and the Cinderella Twin Drive-In. On the way home they went to a Burger King. As the hour approached midnight, Owens drove the boy to Ruby Hill Park.
Ruby Hill offers a great view of the city and has a well-earned reputation as a makeout haven. More recently, it has become a park where cops can often bust a few curfew violators. On that night, officers were cruising the park shortly after midnight when they spotted a red Honda with someone inside.
When the police approached the car, Owens immediately sat upright in the driver's seat. She was wearing a white T-shirt. Her shorts and her underwear were down around her ankles. An officer then noticed what he described as a "small Asian boy" in the passenger seat.
The officer told both of them to get out of the car and told Owens to pull up her pants. Dinh explained, "We came here so we can go pee." The officer then told the boy to get his shorts and underwear out of the back seat and put them on.
In the police car a few minutes after being arrested, Ava Owens came clean: She told an officer that she had had a "sexual relationship" with the boy for about a month. She told him that she knew the boy's age--although she told them incorrectly that he was thirteen--and that she was his teacher. She also told them she had climaxed several times and then added that she didn't know if the boy had ever reached orgasm, "but apparently not."
Owens was arrested for sexual assault on a child and taken to jail. Her husband bailed her out the next day.
Dinh was not so lucky.
Dinh Tran believed that if you ever get arrested in America, you will immediately go to jail for at least five years and probably longer, depending on how serious the crime is. That's what his friends had told him. When he was riding in the back of the police cruiser, he later told his parents, he thought he had been arrested.
Whether because of the language barrier or because of Dinh's shame, he could not direct the police to his house. He later told his parents what had been running through his head as the cops circled the neighborhood, trying to figure out how to take him home. His father uses his finger to draw an oval on his furrowed forehead to illustrate the thoughts going through his son's mind: "I'm not going to see my family for twenty years, and I'm not going to be able to go back to school."
Diana Nga Miller, who is also a lawyer, says that what may have really happened was that the boy didn't want to shame his family and his ancestors by coming home in a police car.