Lawmakers Want to Increase “Zone of Safety” Around Victims of Sex Crimes

Three lawmakers are throwing their support behind an effort to push sex offenders further away from their victims. House Bill 1124 is authored by Rep. Kyle Hilbert and Senator James Leewright. It has gained the vocal support of Rep. Scott Biggs. The trio said the proposed law would close a loophole that allows a sex offender to live close to his or her victim. The law would create a 1,000-foot “zone of safety” around the victim’s residence.

“You should feel absolutely safe in your own home,” said Hilbert.  “A town can have multiple schools, parks and daycares, but normally, the offender’s victim only has one home. It is not too much to expect an offender to stay 1,000 feet away from one location.”

According to the lawmakers, the loophole in Oklahoma law was discovered when convicted sex offender Harold English moved next door to his victim Danyelle Dyer. Dyer has been advocating for a change in the law. Only five states have the 1,000-foot zone. Many others, including Oklahoma have a 500-foot zone.

“Danyelle’s courage and commitment will make sure that another Oklahoman doesn’t have to experience what she has had to during this ordeal,” Leewright said. “Not only has Danyelle made Oklahomans safer, but as word spreads, we expect the remaining states to follow suit and make all Americans safer.”

The legislation will be heard when the next session begins in 2018.

“I look forward to getting this piece of legislation in and passed out of my committee in the first week,” said Biggs. “Stepping up and protecting victims is something every legislator should be doing at the Capitol. At the very beginning of our 2018 session, we will have a chance to protect our victims, to change our state for the better. I’m proud to work with my colleagues on this legislation, and I am extremely proud of Danyelle for the courage she has showed.”

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