OKLAHOMA COUNTY - It’s been four years now since Lisa Knight lost custody of her daughter, Sarah, to her ex-husband in California.
“Most of the times, I wake up crying. It’s just really horrifying,” Knight said.
The Oklahoma judge’s decision caused widespread outcry because Sarah’s dad, Nicholas Elizondo, is a registered sex offender.
“It’s sort of like the judge just sent her to California and thought, you know, this is it, and it’ll be over with and it won’t be my problem anymore. You know, that’s the way I feel,” Knight said.
Knight said she became angry all over again when she recently looked up Judge Howard Haralson and realized he’d been promoted.
“I was just like, oh no, how can this be happening? How can the governor not protect our children?” Knight said.
In May, Governor Mary Fallin announced she was appointing Haralson to fill the Office 3 District Judge vacancy in Oklahoma County, praising him as a “conscientious and dedicated public servant.”
“She was giving him praise, and he, you know, gave custody to a child molester,” Knight said.
Knight claims her daughter is not doing well with her ex-husband in California, saying she’s been removed from his home three times by child protective services and he has been charged twice with driving under the influence.
Knight said she is not giving up the fight to get Sarah, now 10 years old, back.
“The state of Oklahoma hasn’t protected her, and now California’s not protecting her either,” Knight said.
Fallin’s Communications Director, Michael McNutt, sent us this statement:
“Judicial recommendations that come to the governor for her consideration undergo comprehensive checks by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission. The governor considers a multitude of factors in examining the three nominations she receives for each judicial position, including comments from other judges and from attorneys who practice before the nominees. After a thorough review, the governor considered Judge Haralson to be the best choice to fill that particular judicial vacancy.”
We also spoke with Elizondo.
He claims Sarah is doing well with him out in California.
He said the sex offender charge stemmed from a conviction of molesting his step-daughter.
And, he told us his step-daughter recanted her story at the custody hearings for Sarah.