OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney says she is surprised after hearing that an Oklahoma man who pleaded guilty to brutally raping a young teenager was sentenced to serve 15 years of probation.
Benjamin Lawrence Petty, 36, has entered a plea deal for the rape of a 13-year-old girl at Falls Creek church camp. Petty was a camp cook at the time of the 2016 offense.
Murray County Assistant District Attorney David Pyle said, along with the 15-year probation, Petty is also required to wear an ankle monitor for two years, register as a sex offender and obtain treatment. This was part of a negotiated guilty plea to first-degree rape, forcible sodomy and rape by instrumentation.
Pyle told News 4 the plea was made with the consent of the victim's parents. She was only identified as "Jane Doe" in court documents, which also state she is a permanent resident of Texas.
“The big thing is Mr. Petty is legally blind and the parents (of the victim) live out of state and this little girl lives out of state and didn’t want to make all the travels back and forth,” Pyle said. “The plea was negotiated with their permission.”
Pyle also said that Petty was legally blind at the time of the rape.
According to court documents, Petty "closed to the door to his bedroom, tied Jane's [Doe] hands behind her back, pulled down her jeans, pushed her face on his bed and violently raped and sodomized her."
A local criminal defense attorney spoke with News 4 about Petty's sentencing, calling it "surprising."
"Given the atrocious circumstances of this case, probation should not have even been considered," attorney Joi Miskel said.
Miskel said that a typical prison sentence for child rape is no less than five years to life in prison.
She added that saying Petty is "legally blind" shouldn't be a reason for his lenient sentence.
"DOC certainly is equipped to house someone with vision issues as well as many other impairments. I do not believe this is much of an issue or an excuse for probation in this matter," Miskel said.