Claremore Daily Progress

State/Nation

August 30, 2013

Parents tell details of sex abuse complaint

Among grievances in grand jury petition

CLAREMORE —

The parents of a young girl who police said was molested by the father of a playmate four years ago have gone public with their criticism of the district attorney’s handling of the sexual abuse case.

Chad and Kristen Rohr of Claremore spoke out after a judge Thursday approved a citizen petition drive aimed at forcing a grand jury investigation of the district attorney’s office.

Among complaints made in the petition was an accusation that Assistant District Attorney Timothy Wantland entered into a plea bargain with the defendant in the sexual abuse case without the parents’ consent or even notification of the court hearing on the matter.

The case involved a next-door neighbor, Tom Dougan, who was charged with lewd molestation of the Rohrs’ 3-year-old daughter on Aug. 16, 2009, following a birthday party for his 4-year-old playmate son. The child had told her parents and Claremore police that Dougan exposed his “winkie” to her, asked her to kiss it and touched her panties.

Three years later, Dougan entered into an agreement with the district attorney’s office to plead guilty to the lesser charge of indecent exposure. He was sentenced to three years in prison and seven years of probation, and ordered to register as a Level 1 (lowest level) sex-offender for 15 years.

The Rohrs said they were never told the charge would be reduced from a violent crime (lewd molestation) to a non-violent crime (indecent exposure). Had they been so advised, they said, they would have objected in court on the grounds that police reports and the defendant’s own admission supported the more serious child sex abuse charge.

But, the Rohrs added, they were never told of the court hearing in May of 2012 at which the plea bargain was presented and accepted and thus could not object or submit a victim’s impact statement on behalf of their daughter. They said the lewd molestation charge carried a greater prison term and would have required Dougan to report as a Level 3 (highest level) sex offender for life.

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