Oklahoma prosecutors charge alleged 'deadbeat dads' with felonies

Former Sooner football player becomes first to be charged.
BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: July 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm •  Published: July 23, 2010
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A former Sooner offensive lineman who made more than $1 million in the NFL and five other men have been charged with felonies for allegedly failing to pay court-ordered child support.

The ex-player, Sammy R. Williams, 35, of Baltimore, allegedly owes the most — $150,411. Williams spent six years in the National Football League after being drafted in 1998 out of the University of Oklahoma.

"They're basically stealing money right out of their children's pockets," Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said Thursday. "These people have been given ample opportunity to pay."

Prater said it is the first time he has filed felony charges against so-called "deadbeat" parents. He said he has been working for three years with officials at the state Department of Human Services to get to this point.

"They met with me... and told me they were having difficulty getting some of their most egregious violators to take... them seriously," Prater said.

The district attorney also said, "We're looking for others. This is not just a one-time roundup. Any deadbeat parent needs to be aware that we are reviewing all cases for possible prosecution."

The charge is technically known as omission to provide for a child. The offense becomes a felony if a parent fails to make payments for a year or owes more than $5,000. Punishment for a felony conviction is up to four years in prison.

Prater, himself a father of two, said deadbeat parents could avoid prison time and get probation instead if they pay up on the back child support. But he said, "If they want to continue to avoid responsibility to the babies... yes, they'll go to prison."

The six men were charged Wednesday in Oklahoma County District Court.

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We're looking for others. This is not just a one-time roundup."
David Prater
Oklahoma County District Attorney

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