November 4, 2014

Problems enforcing law stopping sex offenders from changing name

11-4-2014 Oklahoma:

A new law is now in effect to keep sex offenders from being able to change their names in Oklahoma. FOX23 discovered a problem right now enforcing it.

The new law reads, in part, "No person who is required to register as a sex offender may petition for a change of name."

It took effect Saturday. FOX23 called court clerks across Green Country. Of those we reached in Tulsa, Osage and Okmulgee counties, they were aware of the new law but have not received direction on how to enforce it.

Clerks in Creek and Wagoner counties were not aware of the new law, and told FOX23 they were glad we brought it to their attention.

FOX23 obtained a copy of the notice the administrative office of the courts sent to clerks across the state telling them about the law.

But when it comes to what it requires court clerks to do, it just says, "Be aware."

FOX23 first told you about the legislation during our investigation in July that revealed convicted criminals and sex offenders are able to change their names.

It’s something Broken Arrow police called a threat, especially when they pull someone over.

“This person may be a danger to us and we don't know if they have a previous history,” said Cpl. Leon Calhoun.

The legislation was created after a convicted sex offender from Las Vegas changed his name three times and landed a job in Oklahoma as a school bus driver in Lawton.

FOX23 requested the names of every person in Tulsa County who filed to change their name this year to see if any sex offenders were trying to do just that before the new law took effect.

Of the 183 names FOX23 ran against the state sex offender registry, not one was a sex offender.

When FOX23 asked clerks and judges why no one has put plans in place to enforce the new law we were told there are so many laws that pass that it takes time.

They said they'll likely be working with district attorneys and sheriff's offices to figure out how to keep sex offenders from changing their names. ..Source.. by

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