Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY – Two Oklahoma City parents are outraged after they discovered their neighbor, who's accused of molesting their daughters, was an unregistered sex offender and a judge refused to grant them a Victim's Protection Order.
The metro fathers said a man who lives in their neighborhood displayed lewd behavior around their daughters and even tried to molest one of them during a weekend slumber party with the man's granddaughter. The men said they then discovered Jerry Elders was a sex offender who had failed to register.
"I had no idea he was a sex offender," said Chris Sanford, who lives across the street from the Elders. "I've known him for nine years and would have never let my daughter there if I had known."
Elders is in the Oklahoma County jail accused of lewd and indecent acts with a child under 16. He's being held on a $40,000 bond.
"There is no protection for these kids. What do these kids do if he approaches them? No laws to restrain him from that," said Brett Holt, a father of one of the girls.
Oklahoma County Special Judge Donald Easter, who denied a Victim's Protections Order request, said his hands are tied since the statute is very specific. Easter said in order for a VPO to be granted, there needs to be a domestic relationship between the parties and barring that, a VPO can only apply if there is evidence of stalking, rape or rape by instrumentation.
"I think he sold our children out by not putting some kind of protective order," said Holt.
"Anytime you have children who may be subject to being molested or what was alleged, of course you want to protect them it's just that I can't under this statute," said Judge Easter.
The Department of Corrections said they show no record of the 67-year-old in their sex offender registry, but a spokesperson said in 1993, sex offenders were only required to file for a period of 10 years. Now, sex offenders are required to register for life.
But Sanders, Holt and the other parents involved in this case say something needs to be done.
"This ain't right. There needs to be protection for children. These incidents happen. If there's a friggin' loophole they better figure it out," said Sanders.
Judge Easter said these parents can seek civil action and try to file a restraining order, but unless Elders is caught stalking or threatening these children, there's nothing a judge can do.