McALESTER — A Pittsburg County grand jury will convene Aug. 24 to investigate a previously unprosecuted child sex abuse allegation against child rapist David Earls. District Judge John Maley on Friday ordered the convening of the grand jury at the request of Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who said he wants the grand jury to investigate "alleged lewd and lascivious acts against a child under 14.” Earls, 65, touched off controversy earlier this year when he entered into a plea agreement that called for him to serve only one year in jail for the rape of a 4-year-old girl. District Attorney Jim Bob Miller and District Judge Thomas Bartheld received heavy national criticism for agreeing to the plea. Prosecutors said they agreed to the deal because their case rested largely on the testimony of the victim, now 5, who made contradictory statements during pre-trial hearings. "Earls is set to leave prison on his previous conviction for rape and forcible sodomy in just a few weeks,” Edmondson said Friday. "After reviewing Earls’ case file, I asked our investigators to look further into Earls’ history and to determine if other unprosecuted crimes existed.” Investigators found a history of alleged sexual misconduct, as well as possible crimes that have not been prosecuted, the attorney general said. "Our investigators interviewed potential victims and witnesses in three different states,” Edmondson said. "We gathered information of alleged sexual abuse going back about 30 years. We also learned of more recent allegations that have not been charged.” Details about what Edmondson wants the grand jury to investigate were filed under seal.
Reviewing the caseSince Earls entered his guilty plea, his adult daughter and the adult daughter of a woman once married to Earls have come forward to say they were sexually attacked by Earls when they were children. In addition, it has been disclosed that the 5-year-old brother of the girl who was raped also had injuries consistent with child abuse. Edmondson said Friday that attorneys in his office have been reviewing state statutes and state and federal case law, especially as they relate to statute of limitations, double jeopardy and double punishment. "We have strong evidence to present to the grand jury, and we stand on solid legal ground to pursue our allegations on these new crimes,” Edmondson said. "Knowledge of Earls’ alleged history of abuse will bolster our argument that he is a continuing threat.” The Oklahoma Supreme Court appointed Judge Maley to preside over the grand jury after Judge Bartheld, who had accepted Earls’ plea agreement, agreed not to be involved in the case. Bartheld said he thought he could be fair and impartial, but he stepped aside to "avoid the appearance of impropriety.”
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Ongoing coverage: David Harold Earls