Friday, December 28, 2012

OK - New Push For Tougher Oklahoma Sex Offender Laws

Original Article

12/27/2012

By Michael Konopasek

OKLAHOMA CITY - More restrictions are in the works right now for Oklahoma sex offenders. One lawmaker is pushing to make it happen, and he's focusing on schools and daycares.

Right now in Oklahoma, only certain sex offenders are not allowed to loiter near a school or daycare. In fact, 500 feet is the limit. Soon, the restriction could be mandated to include more offenders.

"It will pass 100 to nothing because nobody is ever going to challenge a law like this," criminal defense attorney David Slane said.

Currently, people on the sex offender's registry whose victims are 13 years old or younger are forbidden from loitering within 500 feet of a school or daycare. State Sen. John Ford of Bartlesville wants the age of the victim expanded to 18, to ban even more sex offenders.

"I've absolutely heard nothing against this legislation at all," Ford said. "The only thing [I've heard was] from a couple [saying] 'Goodness! Why wasn't it 18 earlier?'"

A registered sex offender shared his thoughts with News 9 while concealing his identity. He's been on the sex offender registry since 2004, convicted of rape. But he says he never committed the crime.

"They make it impossible for us to live anywhere," the registered sex offender said. "Every time we turn around, it's something else…adding a new law…make it harder."

Supporters of the bill say it's a no brainer. The legislation was suggested by the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, but not everyone thinks it's the best idea.

"No one should loiter around a school," Slane said. "We shouldn't limit this to sex offenders. Nobody has business going around kids in the school."

Slane represents numerous sex offenders. He believes the bill will give parents a false sense of security, but admits many parents, teachers and politicians will support the new restriction.

The bill will be assigned to a committee once the legislature begins a new session in February.


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