BRISTOW, Okla. – It’s a case that sparked outrage in an Oklahoma community, and caused state leaders to take action against a little known loophole in the law.
“He’s like right there, practically in my backyard and that kind of makes me nervous and not want to go home ever,” 21-year-old Danyelle Dyer told NewsChannel 4.
Danyelle says her uncle, Harold English, was just released from prison after he was convicted of molesting her when she was a child.
While she hoped to moved on after his conviction, her family says no one expected what would happen after English was released.
Instead of being out of her life, English moved in with his mother, who lives just over the fence.
“Not only is my daughter feeling her past come back to haunt her, but a lot of years of rage and anger that I’ve kept under my collar is sitting right outside my door,” said Greg Dyer.
After learning about the situation, the community came out to support Danyelle and urge Oklahoma officials to change the law.
Now, it seems that change is in the works.
On Thursday, Judge Richard Woolery issued a 1,000 feet protective order for the Dyer family, meaning that English has 10 days to vacate the premises.
Current law prohibits sex offenders from living within a 2,000 feet radius of schools, daycare centers and parks, but it does not stop a sex offender from living within a certain proximity of the victim.
“Supposedly, he paid his debt to society and as long as he’s not near a church or a daycare or where children gather, he’s free to do as he wishes,” said Greg Dyer.
Lawmakers say their hands are currently tied since they are not in session, but say they are committed to changing the law once they get back to the Capitol.
“We applaud Judge Woolery for taking the steps necessary to protect the victim and her family. While we are grateful that this specific situation has been resolved, we remain committed to fixing this loophole in the law next spring. It is unacceptable that a sex offender could move in next door to the victim, and furthermore, a victim should not have to go through the trouble of hiring an attorney to prevent this- it should simply be the law.
Many individuals have come forward to help this family, but specifically we would like to thank the Attorney General’s office and Representative Scott Biggs for going above and beyond to point the family in the right direction throughout this difficult situation.
The courage Danyelle has shown throughout has been incredible. Through her advocacy in the last month, she has brought national attention to a loophole that is present in 45 out of 50 states. Thanks to her, hopefully this will never happen anywhere in the United States ever again,” a statement from Rep. Kyle Hilbert and Sen. James Leewright read.