An Oklahoma man who pleaded guilty to viciously raping a teenage girl at a church camp has received a sentence of 15 years probation.
The 13-year-old victim said in the summer of 2016 Benjamin Lawrence Petty, 36, raped her while she was at Falls Creek.
Reports say Petty worked as a cook at the church camp.
Court documents reveal that Petty told the girl he was going to show her how to do some tricks on a device he took with him to the camp when he abruptly pulled her into his cabin.
According to the document, “Petty closed the door to his bedroom, tied [victim’s] hands behind her back, pulled down her jeans, pushed her face down on his bed, and violently raped and sodomized her.”
He was later taken into custody on charges of forcible sodomy, first-degree rape, and rape by instrumentation.
Last week, Petty entered a guilty plea to all three charges as part of a plea agreement, NewsOK reports.
In exchange for his guilty plea, court documents state that Petty received three 15-year suspended, which will run at the same time.
Murray County Assistant District Attorney David Pyle, who brokered the plea deal, told NewsOK that Petty is “legally blind,” which played a significant role in his choice to not push for prison time.
“The big thing is Mr. Petty is legally blind and the parents (of the victim) live out of state and this little girl lives out of state and didn’t want to make all the travels back and forth,” Pyle said. “The plea was negotiated with their permission.”
Pyle also said that Petty was legally blind at the time he raped the victim.
Last year, the victim’s family submitted a civil lawsuit against the church that took her to the camp from Terrell, Texas. Additional lawsuits were filed against County Estates Baptist Church in Midwest City, which took Petty to the camp, and Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
All of these organizations, the victim’s family says, neglected to run background checks, which could have protected their daughter.
“Minimal effort on the part of the Defendants- before and/or during the camp- would have revealed that Petty was not an appropriate adult candidate to bring to , or remain at, the camp. In fact, Petty was a convicted criminal and it was readily apparent that he was involved in a lifestyle contrary and repugnant to the values espoused by the BGCO, Country Estates, Terrell and Falls Creek,” the lawsuit claims.
The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma issued the following statement to News 4:
“Although we have no association with Mr. Petty, as he was not an employee or volunteer of Falls Creek, we absolutely abhor his behavior toward the victim in this case. We are continuing to pray for the victim and family, as well as everyone impacted by this.”
–Brian Hobbs, BGCO Communications Director