How is it that a state such as OKlahoma were repeat child molesters (if victim 12 years old or younger) are subject to the death penalty or life in prison for the second offense suddenly become Vermont? Is the judge somehow related to Edward Cashman? States like Oklahoma should be a child molester's worst nightmare, it should be like a Texas is to convicted murderers.
McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK - Molesterís sentence leads to cries of injustice
Kathryn Cole considered it harmless horseplay when her granddaughter, who had just turned 5, reached over and touched her breast during a dinner at her home last September.
She corrected the childís behavior anyway.
What the girl said next revealed a horrible secret that later would garner national headlines involving the granddaughter, her year-older brother and the man who was their baby-sitter.
ďGramma, itís OK,Ē the girl said, according to an account the grandmother gave police. ďDavid Earls touches me there.Ē
David Harold Earls, 64, a twice convicted felon, had watched the children during weekends while their mother worked.
He recently admitted raping and sodomizing the girl in return for serving one year in the county jail, with credit for time he has already spent behind bars since his arrest nine months ago.
Judge Thomas Bartheld ordered the sentence under a plea bargain agreement recommended by Earlsí lawyer and Assistant District Attorney Lisa Birdwell.
The agreement has touched off a major controversy over criminal justice in McAlester, including calls for the removal of the judge from office. The state attorney general has also launched an inquiry into the case.
Actually, the judge imposed a sentence of 20 years in prison, but he suspended 19 of those years. He also fined Earls $1,000.
ďSome people think I could have given a different sentence, and I couldnít,Ē said District Judge Thomas Bartheld. ďIn any plea bargain, where there is a negotiated plea, the court canít change it.Ē