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OK Senate unanimously approves bill that would restrict sex offenders

Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-12 18:54:41-04

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma State Senate approved a bill unanimously Monday that would help protect victims from their sex offenders.

A case in Bristow was the instigator of this bill when in 2017 a woman's sex offender was freed and he moved in next door to the victim once he was out of custody.

People in Bristow lined a highway in 2017 to protest when that convicted sex offender, Harold English, the victim, Danyelle Dyer's uncle moved next door to her after he was released from prison.

English was convicted of molesting her when she was a child.

“I struggle with the emotions that it brings back and it brings back a lot of things I have put away for years that I don’t want to think about, and that I’ve kind of covered up and not spoken to many people about," Dyer told KFOR-TV at the time. 

She was among those protesting along with friends and family near the home where her uncle is living.

“There is a reason to just despise this guy," said Danyelle's brother, Blake Dyer. “He’s never lived in this town, he’s never worked in this town, he wasn’t raised in this town and he moves in as close as he can to my sister.”

“Hopefully, not only will it change Oklahoma’s state law, but other states could possibly change their laws as well,” Danyelle said.

Under current Oklahoma law, sex offenders are banned from living near places like schools and playgrounds, but there is nothing about close proximity to their victims.

State Sen. James Leewright, R- Bristow, and Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Depew, are working to close this legislative session with an update in this law.  

“There was a situation in Bristow where a convicted sex offender actually moved in next door to his victim.  As you can imagine, this was an extremely traumatizing situation, but current law doesn’t prohibit it,” Leewright said.  “The victim, Danyelle Dyer, and her family were forced to go to court to seek a protective order, but we wanted to permanently address such situations through our statutes.”

SB 1221 would expand the zone of safety to prohibit the offender from loitering within 1,000 feet of the victim’s home or from living within 2,000 feet of the victim’s residence.

“By coming forward, Danyelle has actually brought attention to a loophole that wasn’t just a problem in Oklahoma, but in most every other state as well.  Since this legislation was filed, Representative Hilbert and I have been contacted from many other states hoping to enact similar laws thanks to Danyelle’s courage and advocacy,” Leewright said.

SB 1221 will now move to the House for further consideration.  A similar measure, House Bill 1124, is awaiting a floor vote in that chamber.

For more information, contact Sen. James Leewright, at 405-521-5528

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