Mother Upset After Sex Offender Attends Kids Church Event In SW OKC
OKLAHOMA CITY - A mother is outraged after finding out a known registered sex offender attended an annual children's event at a southwest Oklahoma City church.
Tanya Cotton says she is still shocked that the Highway of Holiness Church, located at 2800 S.W. 38th Street, allowed registered sex offender, 29-year-old Dale Hoffert Junior, to attend the Children's Crusade event last week.
“I was upset. I was sick to my stomach,” said Cotton. “You should send your kids to church and feel safe about it.”
After the services, Cotton watched the videos on her 10-year-old son's cell phone when she saw Hoffert in one of the videos, participating in the service. She recognized him immediately, because he used to be the youth pastor at the church.
“His past is not good with children,” she said. “Do not be tempting him with our kids.”
Hoffert was convicted on charges of forcible oral sodomy in 2007. The victim was not a member of the church. Court records show he served time in prison until he got out earlier this year on a suspended sentence.
“They sentenced him. He paid his debt to society,” said Highway of Holiness Church Pastor John Steiger. “We're a church that believes that God can change people.”
Following church services on Sunday, Pastor Steiger confirmed Hoffert did attend the youth event but says the kids were never in danger.
“It all happened in this sanctuary,” said Steiger. “There was 25 adults in this same room, and he was never left alone with any of them.”
Pastor Steiger says Hoffert will never be a church leader over the children but will always be welcome inside his house of God.
“A church is a hospital for the soul. We help lost souls” said Steiger. “We've done what a church is supposed to do, help a lost soul change their ways.”
Cotton isn't so sure. While she isn't against him attending church, she is against him attending children's services.
“I just don't want to see any children hurt, again,” she said.
Pastor Steiger didn't say whether or not Hoffert would be banned from the children's services, but he did say the church filed all the proper paperwork, allowing him to attend church there.