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Oklahoma bill would stop sex offenders from changing their names

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OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to prevent sex offenders from legally changing their name in order to, in some cases, get closer to children.

Sen. Kyle Loveless is the principal author of Senate Bill 1421, which would prohibit registered sex offenders from changing their name.

It was approved with a bipartisan vote of 8-0 by the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Click here for more information on the bill.

Loveless referenced a case in Lawton involving an offender who was hired to drive a school bus after changing his name three times.

Steven Steffens worked for a few months as a Lawton school bus driver in 2011 before his background check revealed he had changed his name from Terry Cobon and had been convicted of lewd acts with a child in 1980 in Las Vegas.

Police with the Lawton Public School District say Steffen's background check would have revealed his conviction much sooner had he not legally changed his name.

According to a Lawton Police report, Steffens told them he thought the state laws had changed when he moved to Lawton in 2005 and didn't have to register as a sex offender with police.

SB 1421 now moves to the Senate for approval.