Rapist Gets No Jail Time for Attack on 13-Year-Old at Baptist Church Camp

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
January 30, 2018News
Rapist Gets No Jail Time for Attack on 13-Year-Old at Baptist Church Camp
Benjamin Lawrence Petty. (Oklahoma Department of Corrections)

An unusual plea deal has led to a man who pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old in Oklahoma receiving no jail time.

Benjamin Lawrence Petty, 36, was a cook at the camp in Falls Creek in 2016 when the offense occurred.

According to details revealed in court, Petty tied rope around the girl’s wrists and raped her.

He then threatened her with physical harm if she told anyone, reported News OK.

Defending the decision to give Petty no jail time in return for pleading guilty, Murray County Assistant District Attorney David Pyle told the outlet that Petty is “legally blind.”

According to All About Vision, “legally blind” means “a level of visual impairment that has been defined by law either to limit allowed activities (such as driving) for safety reasons or to determine eligibility for government-funded disability benefits in the form of educational, service, or monetary assistance.”

The original charges of first-degree rape, forcible sodomy, and rape by instrumentation, were all felonies.

A woman in District Judge Wallace Coppedge’s office said the judge would not be making a statement.

“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.”

The agreement will have Petty on probation, required to wear an ankle monitor for 24 months, register as a sex offender, and obtain treatment.

Bruce Robertson, an attorney who is helping the victim’s family, said the family consented to the plea agreement because Pyle told them Petty “would not serve any meaningful prison time due to his medical conditions.”

Last year, the victim’s family blamed the church that brought her to the camp from Texas, filing a lawsuit against them, reported KFOR.

The victim’s family said that organization and other associated organizations failed to perform background checks, which may have prevented the crime.

“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 alleges.

The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, one of the organizations, released a statement to KFOR:

“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.”


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