In an unusual plea deal, a Spencer man has been sentenced to 15 years on probation after pleading guilty to brutally raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl at Falls Creek church camp.
Benjamin Lawrence Petty, 36, tied rope around the girl's wrists, raped her and then threatened her with physical harm if she told anyone, according to the criminal charge. He was at the camp as a cook at the time of the 2016 offense.
Murray County Assistant District Attorney David Pyle, who negotiated the guilty plea, said Petty is "legally blind" and that was a major factor in his decision not to insist on prison time.
Yeah, that's right. The guy who could see well enough to cook food at a church camp, and tie up and brutally rape a 13-year-old girl, is too "blind" to serve time in prison. What the fuck?! Oklahoma is one of the most aggressive, unsympathetic states in the country when it comes to prison sentencing, and we let this guy off the hook because he can't see well enough to hangout in a jail cell? How's that possible? It makes me wonder if there is some sick True Detective stuff going on between the Falls Creek Church Camp, local law enforcement, and Oklahoma Baptist Convention.
The Assistant DA tries to explain:
"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."
Petty was already legally blind at the time of the rape, Pyle said. Under terms of the probation, Petty will be required to wear an ankle monitor for 24 months, register as a sex offender and obtain treatment. He had no prior felony convictions, according to plea agreement documents....
Bruce Robertson, an attorney who is helping represent the victim's interests in a civil case, said the family's consent to the plea agreement came after "the family was told by the district attorney's office that the rapist would not serve any meaningful prison time due to his medical conditions."
"Based on this representation, the family did not object to the probationary sentence," Robertson said. "As a result of the plea, Benjamin Petty has been convicted of three felonies resulting from this incident, in which he bound and raped a 13-year-old, and is required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life, providing at least some protection for other potential victims."
I have an idea. Can we get a lawmaker to draft a bill creating a special private prison for blind criminals? With this case getting so much attention, I think we're going to have more violent criminals and sexual predators go with the "Sorry judge. I can't go to prison because I'm blind" excuse.
Anyway, you can read more about this infuriating story at NewsOK.com. To add insult to injury, the church that employed Petty – The Country Estates Baptist Church of Midwest City – is trying to bring up the 13-year-old victim's sexual history in the civil case. I'm sure Baby Jesus would be proud.