An Oklahoma woman has unleashed her outrage after she says the family member convicted of molesting her when she was a child moved in next door, which he's free to do under the current law.
“Meet my abuser and my new neighbor,” Danyelle Dyer wrote in a fiery Facebook post that included her uncle’s photo as it appears on the Oklahoma sex offender registry.
Harold English was recently released from prison after being convicted of lewd or indecent proposals/acts to a child in 2005.
That child was Dyer, who was 7 years old when she was molested by English, her uncle.
“It was something terrible, something that should never have to happen to someone ever,” Dyer, 21, told InsideEdition.com.
English served time for abusing Dyer, was released, and went back to prison after violating his parole, she said. Then, after being freed, he moved in next door to Dyer in Bristow.
“At first I thought, obviously, this can’t be legal and he’s going to move,” she said. “I wasn’t even worried in the beginning. Then the DA called and said legally, they can’t force him to move.”
Her inability to live peacefully left Dyer angry and eager to do something about it, so she took to social media.
In a series of Facebook posts, Dyer explained the situation and how she planned to affect change.
“Victims have to live with it for the rest of their life while the abuser gets to live almost anywhere they want including next door to their victim,” she wrote in one post. “He has been asked to leave but in Oklahoma he can legally reside there. Surely Oklahoma can do better than this. My parents and I are out to change Oklahoma law because surely he can find somewhere else to live.”
Dyer’s parents also appealed to the masses online.
“The profile of a child molester does not list sex as the driving force for their actions,” Dyer’s father wrote in a letter shared on Facebook by his wife. “It is the power, manipulation and control over their child victim that they crave. By being allowed to live on the adjoining property to mine the State of Oklahoma is allowing [English] to continue his manipulation and power over my daughter and family.
“I would rather look down the barrel of a gun than re-live the time I had to look into my 7 y/o daughters eyes as she struggled to tell me what had happened to her. And re-live this moment is what my daughter and my family has to do, each time we look out the window or step out our door.”
Almost immediately, Dyer and her family were met with messages of encouragement and praise for their efforts.
“I never imagined that I would get as much support as I’ve been getting,” Dyer said. “It’s been crazy to see not only positive messages on my comments, on my post, but also I’ve gotten many private messages on Facebook from women, who maybe their daughter or they are in similar situations.”
Dyer’s words have not only brought attention to an issue many never realized existed, but also have garnered the support of local lawmakers.
After being notified of English’s parole — and his intention to live next door — the Dyer family contacted Rep. Kyle Hilbert to see what could be done to stop his move from happening.
“Initially, we thought this was going to be OK,” Hilbert told InsideEdition.com. “That wasn’t the case, and he ended up moving in.”
Officials hoped that existing laws in Oklahoma that prevent sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or day care would be applicable in this case, but the home English intended to reside in fell outside of those parameters, he said.
“Immediately, I decided I have to do whatever I can to help,” Hilbert said. “Every time she comes home she has to be reminded of what happened. That individual is living next door.”
Hilbert said he intends to come up with a statutory fix that would prevent sex offenders from living near their victims, noting he has been and will continue to meet with attorneys, legislators and victim’s rights advocates to develop the best solution.
“It seems like common sense to me... make a simple addition to the law that sex offenders cannot live within so many feet of a day care, within so many feet of a school, and just add 'within so many feet of their victims,'" he said.
However, a new law could not be put on the books until at least February, when Oklahoma’s legislative session begins, so Hilbert is looking for temporary solutions to help Dyer, including the possibility of obtaining a protective order against English.
“Even if that is a possibility, even if that does happen, I’m still going to look to change the law,” he said. “At the end of the day, a victim and his or her family should not have to go through the process of getting a protective order; the burden should not be on them.”
Throughout it all, Dyer has been involved in evoking lasting change, Hilbert said.
“I’m just incredibly proud of Danyelle for her courage to stand up in this situation,” he said. “Even if her situation is resolved by the time something happens in the change in the law, the important thing to her is making sure this can’t happen to anyone else again.”
For Dyer, what matters most is bringing about justice for herself and others.
“My dad’s focus was getting him out [of next door]. Obviously, that’s important to me as well, for my own comfort, but most all, I want the law changed,” she said. “It’s not only for me, but for every person who would have to deal with this. I know the emotional stress that I’ve been through … no one should have to go through that.”
Only Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia have laws that restrict sex offenders from living within a certain distance of their victims.
On Saturday, Dyer, her family and members of the community will gather to peacefully protest English living next door.
“This is not where he’s from; this is my home,” she said. “Bristol’s a very small town, and there’s no room for him here.”