Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: May 11, 2015
Sen. A.J. Griffin
New law will close loophole on zone of safety
protecting kids from sex offenders
Calling it a victory for Oklahoma children in
rural communities, State Sen. AJ
Griffin said she was pleased that Gov. Mary Fallin had signed
legislation into law to better protect kids throughout the state
from sexual predators.
Griffin, R-Guthrie, is the principal author of Senate Bill 167,
co-authored by Rep. Dennis Casey, R-Morrison, in the House. Griffin
said the legislation closes a legal loophole regarding “zones
of safety” limiting how close registered sex offenders can
live or even pass by areas where children tend to be, such as parks,
daycare centers and schools.
“These zones of safety were supposed to apply to towns and
cities regardless of population or location, but a judge in Pawnee
County ruled the law only applied to larger communities because
it said ‘cities’ but didn’t include the word ‘towns’.
That ruling meant a convicted child molester was allowed to move
into a home right across from a park,” Griffin said. “This
was clearly not the intention of the legislature. With SB 167, we’ve
clarified that law, ensuring all children will be covered by these
zones of safety.”
Griffin said she authored the legislation at the request of former
representative Rex Duncan, who now serves as the District Attorney
for Pawnee County.
“On behalf of the people in Pawnee and Osage Counties, I want
to express my gratitude to Senator Griffin, Representative Casey,
Governor Fallin and the entire Legislature for their responsiveness
in passing this legislation,” Duncan said. “I am certain
that at some point in time, this will prevent an Oklahoma child
from becoming the victim of a sexual predator.”
Casey said the new law would take effect on November 1. He thanked
his fellow lawmakers for their support of the measure.
“I appreciate our members supporting a bill to ensure that
those of us who choose to live in rural areas have the same protection
under the laws that help keep our children safe,” Casey said.
“Sex predators are often likely to re-offend and we must do
anything we can do to keep kids safe. “
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