Senate approves bill to fix loophole that allowed convicted sex offender to live next to victim

BRISTOW, Okla. – State leaders are taking action after a victim shined a light on a little known loophole in Oklahoma’s law.

“He’s like right there, practically in my backyard and that kind of makes me nervous and not want to go home ever,”   Danyelle Dyer told News 4 last year.

Danyelle says her uncle, Harold English, was released from prison after he was convicted of molesting her when she was a child.

While she hoped to move 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 lived 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.

Harold English


Ultimately, Judge Richard Woolery issued a 1,000 feet protective order for the Dyer family, meaning that English had 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.

Now, a pair of lawmakers say their bill to close the loophole has already passed the full Senate.

Senate Bill 1221 expands the 'zone of safety' to prohibit sex offenders from loitering within 1,000 feet of the victim's house or from living within 2,000 feet of the victim's residence.

“By coming forward, Danyelle has actually brought attention to a loophole that wasn’t just a problem in Oklahoma, but in most every other state as well.  Since this legislation was filed, Representative Hilbert and I have been contacted from many other states hoping to enact similar laws thanks to Danyelle’s courage and advocacy,” Sen. James Leewright said.

Senate Bill 1221 will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration. A similar measure, House Bill 1124, is awaiting a floor vote.