When Danyelle Dyer was 7 years old, her uncle Harold English sexually abused her, resulting in English being convicted in 2002. Now 21, Dyer had hoped to put the ordeal behind her, but now she’s forced to deal with it every day, now that English is out of prison—and living in the house next door to her.
“He’s like right there, practically in my backyard and that kind of makes me nervous and not want to go home ever,” Dyer told KFOR.
The Bristol, Oklahoma house that English moved into belongs to his mother—Dyer’s grandmother, with just a fence separating the property from the Dyer home. Besides making Dyer uneasy, the situation is upsetting to her parents as well.
“Not only is my daughter feeling her past come back to haunt her, but a lot of years of rage and anger that I’ve kept under my collar is sitting right outside my door,” Danyelle’s father Greg Dyer said.
Current state law prohibits English from going near places where children gather, but there’s nothing keeping him from living next door to his victim. Now Danyelle and her family are working with state Representative Kyle Hilbert pass new legislation to keep this sort of thing from happening.
“It’s adding one word in there where it talks, where they can and can’t live, just adding ‘victim’ right there along with schools and playgrounds,” she told the local news station.
Rep. Hilbert described Danyelle’s situation as “unconscionable,” and told LawNewz.com that he’s working on a legislative remedy. “I’m not sure yet exactly how the final language will look, but we already have laws on the books preventing sex offenders from living near a school/daycare,” Hilbert said in an e-mail. “It should be a commonsense fix to add ‘or within so many feet of the victim’s residence’ to existing law.” He is looking into whether any legislation could apply retroactively to Danyelle’s situation.
Danyelle told the local news that she is looking forward to making a change in her community. “It’s very empowering for me because I feel like I’m making a difference and I didn’t share my story for nothing and that it is bringing about positive change,” she said. “Whether it helps one woman and I can help one woman than I’m completely happy with that.”
Note: This article has been updated with Rep. Kyle Hilbert’s statement.
[Image via Oklahoma Sex & Violent Offender Registry]