Oklahoma lawmaker wants judge out for giving probation to man who raped girl, 13, at church camp
An Oklahoma lawmaker introduced legislation aimed at removing a judge who gave probation to a man who pleaded guilty to raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl at a church camp in 2016.
Rep. Mike Ritze, a Republican member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, introduced House Resolution 1025 Monday asking the state's Court of the Judiciary to begin proceedings to remove District Judge Wallace Coppedge "for gross neglect of duty."
Ritze argues Coppedge failed in his duties as a judge when he accepted the plea deal that sentenced Benjamin Lawrence Petty to 15 years probation after Petty pleaded guilty to first-degree rape, forcible sodomy and rape by instrumentation.
"I just felt it was the right thing to do," Ritze told The Oklahoman about his decision to author the non-binding resolution. "The guy's letting the rapist go."
Prosecutor David Pyle, who cut the deal with Petty, resigned earlier this month.
Pyle had said Petty's blindness was a "major factor" in the light sentence.
"The big thing is Mr. Petty is legally blind and the parents 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 told The Oklahoman. "The plea was negotiated with their permission."
Petty was working as a cook at a Falls Creek summer church camp when he pulled the girl into his cabin, tied her up with a rope and raped her.