Juvenile sexual offender bill moves forward in Oklahoma House
Thursday, April 19th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
Oklahoma lawmakers want neighbors to know when a teenager commits a serious sex crime. By a unanimous vote, 96-0, the Oklahoma House passed the Kristi Blevins bill this week. KOTV's Donn Robertson explains what the bill would do to protect children.
Kristi Blevins was the little Oilton girl prosecutors say 19-year-old Robert Rotramel killed last August. Many people in town think it could have been prevented. Outrage and anger made people in Oilton press lawmakers in making changes. Some knew about Robert Rotramel's past, others didn't, including the victim's parents. The 19-year old is will go on trial for killing 7-year-old Kristi Blevins and raping a 12 year later this year. Rotramel's father and juvenile records say Rotramel twice was treated for sexual offenses when he was a juvenile.
Lawmakers, including House representative, Todd Hiett, heard the call, and have unanimously pushed the Kristi Blevins bill closer to the Governor's desk. "This bill will provide that public listing. It will create a juvenile sexual offender registry. If it is a legitimate reason, I don't have a problem with it." Tulsa Defense attorney, Cliff Stark has representative juvenile offenders for a dozen years. He thinks the very worst juvenile offenders should be on a registry, but doesn't want teens that are physically flirtatatious to end up on the list. "Sometimes its just a matter of teaching kids their boundaries. It's not just a matter of rehabilitating a criminal." Lawmakers say they are taking that under consideration.
Under the Kristi Blevins Bill, a 14 to 18 year old convicted of either rape or sodomy will register as a sex offender with the Department of Corrections. They will give a DNA sample, along with fingerprints and a picture. A judge will decide whether juvenile's names and where they live will be put on the public listings. The judge could keep the offenders name completely off the public list or on the list for up to ten years. The authors say district attorneys from all around the state have helped draft the proposal. They also want to make it so the law is constitutional. Hiett says, "I don't expect a problem."
The Office of Juvenile Affairs says there are 40 juveniles in Oklahoma who have committed serious sexual crimes who would be considered for registration with the state, if the bill passes.