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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: April 6, 2010

Sen. Bryce Marlatt
Sen. Bryce Marlatt

Sen. Marlatt Praises AG’s Efforts to Protect Adopted Liberian Sisters

State Sen. Bryce Marlatt praised Attorney General Drew Edmondson’s request this week that four Liberian-born sisters be removed from of the custody of their adoptive parents until a judge rules whether or not the children should stay with the convicted child abusers.

“The failure of our child protective services and the justice system to protect these children is unconscionable. I simply do not understand how anyone would not understand that there has been a conviction of child molestation in a home, an now that home is no longer a safe environment,” said Marlatt, R-Woodward. “I am relieved to see the Attorney General and District Attorney Thorp have some commonsense and are stepping in on the behalf of these children.”

Edmondson and Major County D.A. Hollis Thorp are asking for a judicial review of the decision by Major County Associate District Judge Vinson Barefoot allowing Ardee and Penny Tyler to retain custody of four of the five girls they adopted in 2005. The couple was convicted in February of physically abusing the fifth adopted sister and was given 10-year suspended prison sentences. The couple’s biological son was convicted of molesting the girl and their biological daughter was convicted of assaulting her.

“I think this situation and the failure of DHS to remove these little girls from this home, heightens the urgency for the legislature to continue to bring much needed reforms to a state agency that is desperate need of an overhaul,” said Marlatt. “With regard to Judge Barefoot, his decision to keep the remaining children in the home is a disgrace to his profession, and he should be removed from the bench.”

The state Supreme Court has assigned Harmon County Associate District Judge Mike Warren to review the case. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in Major County District Court in Fairview, which is encompassed in Senate District 27.

For more information contact:
Sen. Marlatt: 405-521-5626

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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