Oklahoma Man Demands Reform Of State's Child Abuse Law

Monday, December 5th 2011, 8:09 pm
By: News 9

Lately we've heard several stories of child abuse in Oklahoma. One man believes the public should fire back demanding changes to state law.

When Jerry Riddle began hearing what he calls the most disturbing details of child abuse cases in Oklahoma, he felt speechless, but said it is now the very reason he's voicing an opinion about what needs to be done.

"This child abuse is getting completely out of hand and I think it's time we have to make change," Riddle said.

From his home office, Jerry Riddle is now trying to help lawmakers with recommendations for an amendment to current state law.

"If we get this passed, it may well be the most important legislative decision history ever made," Riddle said.

Riddle knows because his past efforts made a difference. He explained a friend's murder inspired him to call on lawmakers for change.

In 2004, Riddle watched the Mary Rippy Violent Offender Registration Act become law. A law that since his effort has required all violent offenders' names be published to the public. Now Riddle believes convicted child abusers should face the same punishment.

"They may want to stop and think about it, about you know abusing these children," Riddle said.

State Representative Jason Nelson from Oklahoma City is one of the lawmakers hearing Riddle's request.

"This is a great example of an idea for someone who is concerned and that could be passed along as law," Nelson said.

Rep. Nelson is one of five lawmakers named in a working group to help reform DHS. He believes a registry could help could provide valuable information, not only for the state agency, but also the public.

"I mean it's never going to be a perfect system, but we can make some pretty dramatic changes," Nelson said.

Riddle said not one person or one lawmaker will make the difference; instead, he's calling for support from every Oklahoman.

"You will see a difference and I believe it will work," Riddle said.

Riddle is asking every person to contact their lawmaker and ask for the amendment.

Rep. Nelson said they welcome all suggestions to reform DHS, but also want to remind the public complete reform will not happen in one legislative session.