GUTHRIE, Okla. (KFOR)- Guthrie Public School families took to Facebook recently expressing their concern over some sports team photos being taken by Shelton Photography and Design who is owned by a registered sex offender. 

According to the City of Guthrie’s registered sex offender database, Heath Shelton was convicted of sexual battery of a person over the age of 16 in 2006.

Guthrie Police Department’s offense report from August 9, 2004 also verifies Shelton had charged formally filed against him for sexual battery of a minor.

Guthrie Police Department’s 2004 offense report against Heath Shelton for sexual battery of any person 16 years or older. Provided by the Guthrie Police Department.

Shelton’s OSCN records show the jury reached a guilty verdict, but Shelton was not given time in jail.

According to Logan County court records, Shelton was found guilty of “intentionally touching the buttocks of a minor, in a lewd and lascivious manner.”

Logan County Assistant DA’s signature for the sexual battery of a person 16 years of age or older for Heath Shelton in 2006. Provided by the Logan County Court Clerk.

The probable cause affidavit shows Shelton’s victim, who was a minor at the time, accused him of grabbing her buttocks while attempting to take off her underwear. It also states the victim claimed he grabbed her from behind and held her down on the floor.

The affidavit also reports Shelton tried to grab her “panties out of her jeans.” Shelton claimed he tried to give her a wedgie and that it was “horseplay,” according to court records.

The jury was polled, meaning each juror was asked if they assented or still assents to the verdict in which they did.

Family friend of Shelton’s, Jace Dunagan told KFOR in a statement,

“It’s very much not a black and white situation, they found him guilty because of optics, he was not sentenced to a minute of jail time. This was before levels of SO’s were made. The political standings at the time were what caused the mess, the so called victim’s testimony was impeached before she spoke because her story had changed so many times. The accusations were extremely, extremely minimal and the jury found him guilty (to please the political society at the time) and did not sentence him because he flatly did not deserve it.”

Dunagan said Shelton is an incredible man, “who does so so much for the community, his wife Traci is also an incredible woman who does the same.”

Although Shelton was found guilty and became a registered sex offender in 2006, a grandmother of a Guthrie Public Schools cheerleader, Laura Avila said she’s not okay with Shelton or his business taking part in sports team photos.

“A sexual predator is a sexual predator even years later. This is not acceptable. This. This is not okay. We have to stop this,” she said.

Avila said her 14-year-old granddaughter came home with a photo slip showing Shelton Photography and Design was in charge of the cheerleader’s photos.

News 4 spoke with someone close to the situation who does not wish to be named. She said Shelton is not the one who is on campus snapping the photos though, that it’s his wife, Traci.

However, “I’ve personally seen him on school property and he’s been involved, no matter what’s been said, has been involved with photos for the school for years. It’s not such a big deal when it’s a football team. It’s a whole different story when it’s the girls cheerleading team,” stated Avila.

Because of the situation, Avila said her daughter is considering taking her kid off the cheer team.

Avila said her daughter contacted the cheer coach about her concerns, but the coach responded with, “Yes, I’m aware. I deal with Traci. Not him. He doesn’t take the pictures. This is who the football boosters have always used. I have no control over it. If you don’t feel comfortable, I would not bring [your daughter] to pictures and do some on your own.”

Guthrie Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson said team photographs are arranged by parents and/or booster clubs, not by the district. 

The coach went on to say in that same text thread though Shelton “does take random shots during games of the girls cheering.”

Avila said she was not happy with how the cheer coach handled the situation, saying “You’re the coach. It’s your job to protect. They’re supposed to be reporting that, not condoning it and partaking in it and allowing it and telling parents they can’t do anything.”

Dr. Simpson told KFOR there have been times where the district has issued a purchase order for photography work, but no students were involved though. 

Avila took to Facebook with her concerns, asking others how and why this could have happened.

The post was eventually taken down, but not by Avila. She said the post had over 100 comments before being removed. 

A parent who doesn’t want to be named reached out to KFOR with the post saying she was concerned for her daughter’s safety after hearing about the situation.

“I’m absolutely disgusted. It seems more often than not Guthrie schools is about hiring and protecting sexual predators. I truly regret ever moving here,” she said.

The person close to the situation said she thinks this is all a big misunderstanding. 

During the phone call between News 4 and her, she said another call came in from the current football booster club secretary for Guthrie Public Schools claiming Shelton would not be at media day last week and will no longer be taking team photos.

She said to her knowledge, Guthrie Public Schools is the only school district Shelton Photography and Design take photos for. “This is going to ruin them,” she added.

Logan County Sheriff’s Office was not able to speak about the case directly but said generally registered sex offenders are not supposed to be within 500 feet of any licensed daycare or school and they can’t live within 2,000 feet either.

Lt. Sean Lewellyn told KFOR the only time a registered sex offender can be on school property is if they’re picking up/dropping off their kid or watching a school sanctioned event their child is participating in.

Dr. Simpson noted this in his statement to KFOR as well.

Lt. Lewellyn said in some cases, a person’s sex offender registry will hold lifelong, or it could be expunged after 10 years. It depends on the year the person was convicted.

There’s a lot of gray area when it comes to registered sex offenders and the laws behind them, according to Lt. Lewellyn.

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Shelton has been a registered sex offender since April 27, 2006. His registry is active and is lifelong, according to the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry.

News 4 has reached out to Shelton Photography and Design, but they declined to comment at this time.

“We have taken appropriate steps to assure the law is followed and we consider the matter closed,” added Dr. Simpson.