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.
to call attorney
Williams spent most of his NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens but also was with the San Diego Chargers, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In 2001, he and his wife had $609,129 in income, court records show. He made more than $1 million overall during his NFL career, the records show.
He has made some support payments, court records show.
An Oklahoma County judge in February 2004 ordered Williams to pay $72,180 in back child support after a paternity test determined he was the father of a girl born in 1997. He also was ordered to pay $1,275 each month until the girl turned 18.
Williams said Thursday night he did not know about the felony charge. He said he is now unemployed. "I'm going to call my lawyer and see what's going on," he said.
"I got so far behind because I didn't find out that I had a kid until she was like 10 years old. The mother didn't tell me until the child was like 10 years old. They charged me for all the back child support," he said Thursday. "If I didn't know nothing about it, I don't know how I could have paid it."
In 2003, he said in court papers he had no knowledge of his daughter until she was almost 5.
Prosecutors charged one father, Willie David McCalister, 42, of Oklahoma City, three times for allegedly failing to pay $64,344 in child support owed three children.
The others charged and their alleged delinquent amounts were:
• Charles Wright McKinney Jr., 32, of Oklahoma City, $34,277.
• Thomas Eugene Toles, 27, of Oklahoma City, $23,832.
• Jasper Homer Washa Jr., 38, of Oklahoma City, $15,595.
• Terry Clovis May, 42, of Blanchard; $17,522.
We're looking for others. This is not just a one-time roundup."
Oklahoma County District Attorney