HOBART — A Kiowa County grand jury will convene Sept. 10 to investigate a grandmother's allegations that her 8-year-old granddaughter has been sexually abused for more than five years and that the state Department of Human Services and local district attorney have refused to take action. The paternal grandmother, who asked for the investigation, provided The Oklahoman with copies of reports from doctors, nurses and social workers who examined, interviewed or observed her granddaughter and concluded that she appeared to have been sexually abused.Comments
Revealing informationDuring interviews, the girl described and imitated various sexual acts, those records reveal. "She is exhibiting behavior that is consistent with sexual abuse that should be investigated,” a Hobart doctor said in a 2003 letter to DHS and Hobart police. A licensed professional counselor wrote in 2002 that in her professional opinion, the girl "demonstrated symptoms of digital penetration and oral sodomy.” The grandmother claims the abusers were relatives of her granddaughter's mother. The petition for the grand jury states that multiple reports of sexual abuse were made to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Kiowa County District Attorney, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Kiowa County Sheriff's Department; Kiowa County District Judge and Hobart Police Department, but no one acted to stop further abuse of the child. The grandmother said she asked to speak to the Department of Human Services Commission about her complaints, but was refused. The petition asks the grand jury to investigate individuals who allegedly molested the child as well as persons and governmental agencies that failed to act to protect her.
District attorney respondsKiowa County District Attorney John Wampler said the allegations of sexual abuse surfaced during a bitter divorce and custody dispute. He said the allegations were independently investigated by both his office and the office of District Attorney Mitch Sperry of Ardmore, and both declined to file charges. "I'm not going to comment on any of the facts of the case,” Wampler said. "I welcome the opportunity for a grand jury to review the entire case and to let them pass on what should or should not be done.” Comanche County District Judge Allen McCall announced Monday that he would empanel the grand jury after Kiowa County Election Board Secretary Lynne Morris verified the validity of 704 out of 883 signatures on a petition seeking the inquiry. At least 500 signatures were needed, McCall said. The grandmother said petitioners had no problem gathering enough signatures, even though Kiowa is a thinly populated county. "The response has been overwhelming,” she said. "It seems every other signature had a story to tell about DHS or knew someone who had been abused by DHS.”