McALESTER — A Pittsburg County grand jury returned a three-count indictment Wednesday against convicted child rapist David Harold Earls. Jurors accused Earls, 65, of molesting a 5-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy between May 9 and July 20, 2008, in Pittsburg County. The indictment lists three counts of lewd and lascivious or indecent acts with a child under 16. The children who jurors accuse him of molesting apparently are the rape victim and her brother, who told his grandmother Earls encouraged him to molest his sister. "Oh, my God!” said Earls’ daughter, Denise Earls, when told about the indictment. After the initial case, Denise Earls publicly accused her father of raping her when she was 8 years old and said he deserved to serve more time. "My heart just goes out to those children.” Earls was scheduled for release Sept. 24 from the Pittsburg County jail on the earlier child rape conviction. "Earls will not be getting out of custody on Sept. 24. He may discharge his prior sentence but he will be held under bond pending trial on the new charges,” Attorney General Drew Edmondson said.
ControversyEarls pleaded no contest May 13 to raping a girl he was baby-sitting. He set off a firestorm when he plea bargained to one year in the county jail, with 19 years suspended. "I think justice will be served when these new allegations are tried and Mr. Earls receives a sentence commensurate with the heinous nature of his acts,” Edmondson said. District Attorney J.B. Miller and District Judge Thomas Bartheld were criticized for Earls’ plea bargain. But Earls’ attorney at the time, Tim Mills, said the deal was fair considering the evidence. "It is not our practice in the attorney general’s office to second-guess district attorneys or to reinvestigate cases that have already been disposed of,” Edmondson said. "This case was extraordinary ... because of the history of Mr. Earls and our conclusion based on that record and the evidence that ... if he were released from prison, he would offend again.” Edmondson said the judge acted appropriately in accepting the plea bargain and the district attorney had limited resources in reaching the agreement. The indictment was unsealed and read to Earls in the temporary Pittsburg County Courthouse. Two counts involve the girl; one count involves the boy. Edmondson said his investigators worked in several states to uncover a history of sexual abuse that will prove beneficial once a trial has been scheduled. He said the stories of Denise Earls and two relatives who came forward after the first case helped establish what seemed to be a pattern of behavior by David Earls. Denise Earls said she won’t speak to her father again outside a court setting. "I still have hurt feelings. Your father is supposed to protect you from people like this. Not have your own father do this to you,” she said. Edmondson said the grand jury considered Earls’ two prior felonies of burglary and assault with a dangerous weapon. On the new charges, he could face 20 years to life imprisonment. Earls made an initial appearance Wednesday in court and bail was set at $400,000. Court Clerk Cindy Eller said he was found indigent and will qualify for a public defender. A judge will be assigned to the case and a preliminary hearing set. The grand jury’s work began Monday with testimony from the children’s mother, grandmother and investigators. In the locked courtroom, the jurors also apparently watched video in which children were questioned. The children’s mother said they had managed to put the ordeal behind them but now the children will likely need to testify. "I honestly thought the original sentence he received was good enough for him because of his medical condition and he didn’t have long to live, the fact that he lived ... away from everybody,” she said. "He didn’t bother anybody and he’d be on probation and he’d have to register. And he wouldn’t be able to be around children anymore because it would violate his probation. "I figured that would be enough to keep him from doing it to anybody else. Which was why I was OK with the original verdict. But now that it’s obvious it’s probably going to go back to court, I feel sorry for his family.” The Oklahoman’s Watchdog Team: Looking out for you. Visit NewsOK.com/watchdog.
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