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June 19th, 2009
10:49 AM ET

1 Year sentence for raping a child

An Oklahoma rape case is drawing national attention and outrage.

Last month, 64 year old David Harold Earls pleaded no contest to raping a 4 year old girl. Because the girl behaved erratically in court and was not able to testify and the limited physical evidence, the District Attorney's office worked out a plea deal with Earls. He was sentenced to one year in jail and 19 years probation. Because of time already served he is now scheduled to get out of prison in September. Earls has terminal cancer and will be on monitored release once he is out of jail.

The mother of the four year old victim tells "The Oklahoman" that the plea deal was best for her child.

Oklahoma state representative Mike Ritze is co-sponsoring a resolution to remove the judge in the case, Thomas Bartheld, from the bench.
Judge Bartheld has not responded to our calls for his reaction to the call for his removal.

David Harold Earls' daughter Denise is coming forward accusing her father of sexually assaulting her when she was a child. Earls has not responded to that accusation.

Watch as Kyra Phillips interviews Denise Earls and Oklahoma state representative Mike Ritze about his efforts to get Judge Bartheld fired.

We want to hear from you about this case.
Should the judge be removed? What do you think should happen?
Contact us here or tweet us @KyraCNN.


Filed under: Kyra Phillips
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Larry

    A one year sentance for rape is as lame as 30 days for vehicular manslaughter.

    Adults are the only ones who can protect children, and this judge thinks this is a fitting punishment?

    She needs to be removed from the bench and sued for malpractice. He needs to go to jail for the rest of his life.

    Once we get finished overhauling our health care system we sorely need to get to work overhauling our legal system.

    June 19, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  2. Sandy

    Of course this is outrageous. I have never been in favor of mandatory sentencing but this may make me rethink my stand.

    June 19, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  3. Josh

    Although a one year sentence for the rape of a child seems light, the alternative must be considered. Had the trial continued, no jury could have found Earls guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on such shaky evidence. Earls would be acquitted and go free without registering as a sex offender and would not be subject to any supervision.

    The DA made the right choice.

    June 19, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  4. John

    Everyone is missing the point. What matters is what you can prove in court. The attorneys made a call that they could not win the case. If they had gone to trial and lost then he goes free with no supervision. At least with this deal he is on supervision, registered on the sex offender directory and this plea is a conviction which can be used in any future prosecution making any subsequent case stronger. What you failed to report on is what evidence they have that is permissible in court. You make sweeping judgments on the attorneys and the judge without analyzing the evidence and the strength of the case. While he may very well be guilty, this media hyped rush to judgment is how the justice system is pressured into faulty convictions. Do you not remember the Duke Lacrosse team? The media and politicians need to back off and let justice take its course.

    June 19, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  5. Justin Bork

    Even in today's fairly twisted world this stands out. I don't know what the judge has to gain by allowing this man to walk the streets after such an act but this is ridiculous. I don't care if both families and everyone in the court room was in agreement about the plea. This failure of a human being should not be on the streets after a year. If it were up to me he would never see the light of day again.

    June 19, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  6. Jackie

    On the face of it I am apalled. However, I would like to know whether or not the testimony of the child was the ONLY evidence brought against the man or whether there was physical and other evidence.
    IN your story one of the interviewees said that the reason was because the child was not good on the stand – which one might expect of a four year old who has probably been coached.
    Jackie

    June 19, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  7. RusRus

    Don't forget about street justice. That low life will have to look over his shoulder every single day of his life, and even than he will never feel safe anywhere he goes. He is lucky they have protective custody in jail, but there is no such thing in the real world. Even in jail sometimes people can get to him, since some jail guards know what to do when people who harm children are in custody. Only death is an appropiate sentence for child rapists. Since his picture is public record now, there are not a whole lot of places he can hide.

    June 23, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  8. Patty

    I am so amazed at Denise Earls. What a brave lady. My father was put in the state mental health system instead of jail in 1979 for the same thing and he has been there sense. It turned out to be a life sentence he will die there. He went after my sister and myself then he went after many of the girls in our neighborhood for years before he was caught. I am so glad he has never gotten out. I am also apalled that David Earls is getting out so soon. He will do it again. I have been so ashamed to talk to anyone about my father. Denise is brave to go on national t.v. and talk about this. I applaud her. I can also understand the reaction of the mother to the decision. My mother has stood by my father the whole time even though I plead with her to divorce him for years. I would love to have this message sent to Denise. I understand what she is going through. It has been my life.

    June 23, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  9. Carrie A

    Hi Patty - thank you so much for sharing your own experiences. We're going to try to get your comments to Denise.

    June 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  10. Milton Smith

    Baby rapists should be slaves. Why becuase is creative and non destructive even in test form. 10 out of 10 color blind devils agree with BMW when rapists should be slaves. Fat people should be put on a tred generator mill and repower america. Murders should be examed at the truth of why they killed and either awarded for bravery and heroics or be put to work in slavery for 1-5 years or 12 years hard labour tolling in the underground carbon fiber mines.

    June 25, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  11. jw

    John has a point about providing supervision, providing he gets the appropriate type of supervision. However, a child should not have been in the court room at all, and trained victim advocates should have carefully interveiwed the child on video.

    August 6, 2009 at 8:23 am |
  12. Javier

    What kind of American Justice is this!
    You call an illegal immigrant a criminal just because he is unlawfully in this country and leave free to a monster that can make that to defenseless girl. What could that "perverted judge" do if that happened to her family.
    Why not release that monster among the penal population in jail to see what real justice is? At least those crimminal have a decent concept of it. OUTRAGEOUS!

    September 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm |

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