Oklahoma judge who spared child rapist prison seeks new term

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma judge who approved probation for a man who admitted raping a 13-year-old Texas girl at a church camp is seeking four more years on the bench.

The Oklahoman reports that Marshall County District Judge Wallace Coppedge filed to run Wednesday.

Coppedge has been sharply criticized for accepting the plea deal for 37-year-old Benjamin Petty. The prosecutor who negotiated the deal said his decision to allow probation was in part due to Petty being legally blind.

Petty was sentenced in January to 15 years' probation after pleading guilty to raping the girl at the Falls Creek church camp in 2016.

An online petition is calling for Coppedge's immediate removal from the bench for a "dangerously lenient sentence."

Coppedge didn't reply to the newspaper's phone calls seeking comment.

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