Prosecutor Involved in Plea Deal That Gave Rapist No Jail Time Has Resigned
A prosecutor in Oklahoma involved in a controversial plea deal that gave an admitted rapist only probation has resigned.
Benjamin Lawrence Petty, 36, admitted to raping an unnamed 13-year-old at a church camp in 2016 but received no jail time under the unusual deal.
Court documents stated that Petty told the girl that he wanted to show her tricks on a device he brought to camp when he suddenly pushed her into his cabin.
He tied her hands and then raped her in the cabin before threatening her physical harm if she told anyone.
Petty was a cook at the camp.
Under the plea deal, negotiated by Murray County prosecutor David Pyle, Petty pleaded guilty to three felonies including first-degree rape, but received only 15 years of probation and two years with an ankle monitor, along with needing to register as a sex offender and receiving treatment.
Pyle resigned on Wednesday, Jan. 31, reported KXII.
His boss, District Attorney Craig Ladd, said that he disagreed with the “lenient manner” in which the case was prosecuted.
The broadcaster said that Pyle denied it access to public records, which are easily available in other counties.
Pyle claimed that the light sentence was due mainly to the fact that Pyle is legally blind.
Pyle also cited the family living in Texas and not wanting to travel to Oklahoma to testify.
“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 had told NewsOK. “The plea was negotiated with their permission.”
However, the victim’s family said it was more than willing to travel for the case.
“In fact, our client traveled to Oklahoma and was present in the courthouse on April 10, 2017, for the preliminary hearing and anticipated testifying at trial,” the family’s attorney said in a statement.
“Further, the family consented to the plea agreement based on the representation by Mr. Pyle that Petty would not serve meaningful time in prison due to his medical conditions. The family was not provided any other alternative.”