On 8/21/99 the Tulsa World published a report titled "ORU Sex Assault Reported".
This was only the beginning of the tale of Avery Demont Lawson, the person we here at Bubbaworld refer to as 'The Pedo Preacher of ORU'. Over the course of the next several months, as the details of this shameful and shocking case were reported, serious questions regarding the conduct on the part of both the ORU administration and the Tulsa County District Attorney's office would surface.
Before the shock of the initial news report had worn off, came a second and even more troubling report titled "Earlier Sexual Incidents Unreported".In the second report it was revealed that "Juveniles alleged attacks at ORU by a college student as early as May". The report went on to state that, according to Tulsa Police detectives:
While it is debatable that Oral Roberts University officials had a legal requirement to detain an admitted child molester in their midst, there is no doubt that Oklahoma law required them to report the crimes once they had knowledge they had occurred.
The Oklahoma Child Abuse Reporting and Prevention Act contains
a requirement that every doctor, physician, dentist, nurse,
teacher and other person "having reason to believe that a
child under the age of eighteen (18) years is a victim of abuse
or neglect, shall report the matter promptly to the Department of
Human Services . Such reports may be made by telephone, in
writing, personally or by any other method prescribed by the
Certainly the ORU security officers and administrators qualify under the "other person" provision of the law, which is Available On-line. This of course gives rise to the question,"why did they not comply with the law?"
On 8/26/99 the Tulsa World carried a report titled
"Assault Cases Probed" in which Tulsa Police detectives
were quoted as saying, "ORU officials failed to report the
This same report indicated that Tulsa Police Detective E.R. Eagan's investigation had:
"revealed that Oral Roberts University possessed nine pages of written documentation in the form of witness statements by juveniles alleging that they were the victims of a sexual assault or the attempted victims of sexual assaults or witnesses to these events . . . during the months of May, June and July of 1999, and that none of these incidents was reported to the police by ORU staff"
Detective Eagan was also quoted as saying:
"so far the suspect has been more righteous with us than ORU officials."
On 8/27/99 a chronology of the case appeared in a Tulsa World
article titled "Reported History of Case". Two
interesting aspects of this time-line of crime are as
May 1999 -- Initial incidents were reported to ORU, but campus security "didn't feel they rose to the level of a crime and thus didn't call the Tulsa Police Department."
June -- Reported incidents "were investigated by a campus security officer, who notified his superior. A decision was made that those incidents didn't appear to rise to the level of a crime and could have been interpreted as hazing."
A second Tulsa World article on that same date and titled "Youth Minister Was Fired" provided additional information.
Particularly fascinating in this report is that it quotes the Oral Roberts University Office of Public Relations as stating:
"Oral Roberts University has fully cooperated and will continue to cooperate with the Tulsa Police Department in its investigation."
A subsequent Tulsa world report, dated 9/3/99 and titled "More Charges Filed in ORU Sodomy Case" revealed two additional charges had been filed. These new charges involved lewd molestation and making an indecent proposal to a child.
As the investigation of the case continued, on 10/26/99 the Tulsa World revealed in a report titled "New Child Sex Assault Counts Filed" that still more charges, these pertaining to the sexual abuse of three additional youths were lodged. This brought to nine the number of felony counts filed against Avery Demont Lawson.
The next major news event in the case was a Tulsa World report dated 11/19/99 and titled "Suspect Offered Plea Deal". This reported revealed that Avery Demont Lawson had been offered a "deal" in which he would receive a 30 year sentence on the felony charges in exchange for his guilty pleas.
The next Tulsa World report in the saga of the 'Pedo Preacher of ORU' occurred on 1/04/2000 when it was reported in an article titled "Molestation Admitted by Ex-ORU student". The accused entered a plea of "guilty" to six felony counts and the prosecution recommended a 30 year sentence.
On 2/8/2000 in an report titled "Ex-student Sentenced in Molestation" the Tulsa World reported that Avery Demont Lawson had been sentenced to 30 years on a total of six felony counts involved in the molestation-related offenses to which he had pled guilty.
And thus closes the case of 'The Pedo Preacher of ORU' as reported by the Tulsa World. The first report was dated 8/21/99 and the last was dated 2/8/2000, approximately five and one-half months, start to finish.
We at Bubba World would like to inform you of the outcome of the investigation of ORU officials and employees in regard to the allegations of their failure to report on-going sexual abuse of children, abuse of which they knew according to Tulsa Police detectives. However, this evidently is not going to happen anytime soon as news of the investigation has "dried up" and the fact that Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris has not seen fit to file any charges as a result of the investigation implies he has no intention to prosecute.
This lack of action on the part of DA Tim Harris gives rise to the following questions:1. Did the fact that District Attorney Tim Harris received his law degree from ORU, influence his decision not to charge ORU officials/employees?
Each of these troubling questions deserves an answer. Answers which to this day are not forthcoming. Therefore we the taxpayers are left to determine for ourselves that which the Tulsa Country District Attorney, Tim Harris refuses to reveal. And to do so by whatever means we have at our disposal.
Logic and reason dictate that there is a lot more to this story that has been revealed. Possibly Harris's handling of the entire issue is proper and Harris performed his duties in a professional manner. However the disparity of claims between the Tulsa Police detective that investigated the case and the ORU spokespersons leave no room for doubt, someone is lying, as the two positions are mutually exclusive. Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris has a duty to set the record straight and has thus far refused to do so.
Those interested in the case of the Pedo Preacher of ORU may
view the official court documents from the case at the following
Criminal Felony Case #: CF-1999-4073 (Filed 8/23/1999)
Criminal Felony Case #: CF-1999-4275 (Filed 9/02/1999)
Criminal Felony Case #: CF-1999-4624 (Filed 9/23/1999)
Criminal Felony Case #: CF-1999-5181 (Filed 11/03/1999)
Those interested in viewing 'Reverend Lawson's' official record with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections may do so by Clicking Here to access the record at the DOC web site. For future reference purposes, a copy of Lawson's DOC record is also stored on the Bubbaworld web server, as the record existed on 5/27/03. That archived record is Available Here
What we at Bubbaworld find interesting is that supposedly Lawson was sentenced to thirty years, however the sentence ending dates on Lawson's official DOC records indicate he will be released earlier, much earlier.
When Lawson was sentenced on the four criminal felonly complaints he received three 20 year sentences to run concurrent and a single 10 year sentence to run consecutive to the 20 year sentences. It appears by either accident or intent that the DOC has documented the 10 year sentence to run concurrent with the 20 year sentences. Also, Lawson was arrested in August, 1999. Even with counting time served while awaiting trial and sentencing the 20 year sentences should end in 2019 and the 10 year sentence in 2029.
In any case Lawson is up for a parole hearing in 2006. I would not be surprised if the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommends parole at that time, particularly if Tim Harris is still the District Attorney of Tulsa County at the time of the parole hearing.
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