A man who bound, raped, and threatened to hurt a 13-year-old girl if she told anyone about the assault was sentenced to 15 years probation in Sulphur, Oklahoma.
The man, Benjamin Lawrence Petty, was working as a cook at a Baptist church camp where he raped the girl. The Oklahoman reports that the reason Petty got probation over prison time was due to the fact that he’s legally blind. The negotiated guilty plea deal was for three felonies: first-degree rape, forcible sodomy and rape by instrumentation.
The family of the 13-year-old agreed to the plea deal after they were told by the district attorney’s office that Petty would not serve “any meaningful prison time due to his medical conditions.” Under probation Petty will wear an ankle monitor for just 24 months, register as a sex offender, and receive treatment.
The family is also filing a civil lawsuit which names The First Baptist Church of Terrell, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and The Country Estates Baptist Church as defendants. The lawsuit asserts that the General Convention does not look at or review the background checks run on adult sponsors and cooks brought to its camp or makes sure that churches participating are also conducting background checks on employees.
The attorneys of the the Midwest City church have requested that they question the rape victim about her “prior history of voluntary sexual activity” as part of the civil case. These attorneys claim that the victim talked to other campers “her sexual activities and history with her then-boyfriend, including her fear that she might be pregnant with her boyfriend’s child.”
The family’s attorney said: “While we will not publicly debate the consensual sexual history, if any, of our teenage client, we fail to understand how the church can conceivably argue that any female’s consensual relations are relevant to the trauma suffered as the result of a horrific, violent rape.”