Petition calls for removal of rape case judge - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Petition calls for removal of rape case judge

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Benjamin Lawrence Petty accepted a plea deal in connection with the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl. (KTEN) Benjamin Lawrence Petty accepted a plea deal in connection with the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl. (KTEN)

SULPHUR, Okla. -- A petition to force a Murray County district judge to be removed from the bench has now been signed by more than 50,000 people.

District 20 Judge Wallace Coppedge presided over the case of Benjamin Lawrence Petty, who had pleaded guilty to brutally raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl at Falls Creek Church Camp in Murray County back in 2016. He could have faced up to life in prison for the offense.

But Petty agreed to a plea deal of 15 years' probation. 

The decision shocked people across the nation.

Murray County's Assistant District Attorney David Pyle resigned last week after the uproar surrounding the sentencing. But to the thousands who signed the petition, justice still has not been served for girl who was sexually assaulted.

"She was a victim... she didn't ask for this," said Sand Springs Pastor Jason Jones, who was so outraged that he started a petition calling for Judge Coppedge to resign.

More than 50,000 people had added their signatures as of 6:45 p.m. Monday, adding their voices to a chorus of concern.

"...Coppedge should never have signed off on this plea deal," wrote Pamela N. of Oklahoma. "A judge needs to have a sense of right and wrong," Kay I. said.

And Michelle F. of California added this comment: "This judge shouldn't be in charge of peoples' lives."

Jones also says he doesn't believe Coppedge should have allowed the plea deal, even though the family of the victim was reportedly okay with the outcome.

"Regardless of the girl and who she is or isn't, she is still a child, she should be protected, and the state has an obligation to seek justice on her behalf," Jones said.

Murray County District Attorney Craig Ladd told KTEN he did not agree with the outcome of the case.

Tim Burson, the county's new assistant district attorney, declined the opportunity for an interview.

Judge Coppedge has been in office since 2011 in a district that serves Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall and Murray counties. His current term expires in January, 2019.

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