In the summer of 2003, Harold Dwayne English went to stay with his step-brother and his step-brother’s family in Bristow, Oklahoma. The Dyer family had no idea that they were inviting a convicted child sex offender into their home.
Throughout that summer, then 7-year-old Danielle Dyer, English’s step-niece, had been repeatedly molested by English. “As a 7-year-old, I had never been exposed to anything like that so I didn’t know it was bad until he told me not to tell,” Danielle later told CNN.
Danielle, however, would go to her parents and tell them what English had been doing to her. In 2005, English was convicted of lewd or indecent acts to a child and sent to prison. It was only after his sentencing that the Dyers learned that English had a past conviction for sexually assaulting a child in Texas.
The Dyers believed that this ugly chapter in their life was over and they could now begin healing as a family. Danielle, who is now in college, is studying kinesiology and hopes to work with amputees and veterans. During the weekends, she prefers to go and stay at her parents’ home, that is, until she learned there was a new neighbor next door.
Just 100 yards from the Dyer home sits the home of Betty English, Danielle’s grandmother. In 2017, English was released from prison and his mother, Betty English, agreed to allow her son to move into her home.
Shocked at hearing the news that the man who had molested Danielle nearly 14 years ago was not only released but now living directly next door to one of his victims, is forcing this family to once again relive the trauma he had inflicted all over again.
Initially, the Dyers believed that there were laws that would bar English from living so close to his victim. After reaching out to police and local lawmakers, they were shocked to learn that there were no laws to prevent English from living in the home.
Danielle says that she was let down that the state had failed her, but then she decided she would take action. First, she did what most people do these days when they want to raise awareness and posted a screenshot of her abuser’s sex offender registry on Facebook, along with a written post.
“Warning! You never know who is living next door to you. I urge you to use the Oklahoma sex offender registry to see who’s in your area. 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.”
“Meet my abuser and my new neighbor. 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.”
“If anyone has advice on how I can legal get him to move please let me know!”
“My hope is to bring awareness that this information is public record and you should use it for your safety. And also make it aware that there is obvious flaws in Oklahoma Law regarding victim safety and well being. I wish to save other women and children from the pain that this man has put me through and is continuing to put my family through by living next door to my parents.”
Danielle’s father also posted a sign outside of their home, alerting anyone who passes by that there is a registered sex offender living next door, along with the name of English.
The Dyer family is currently attempting to change the laws in Oklahoma so no family has to relive the same trauma as they have. Working with Oklahoma State Rep. Kyle Hilber, they hope to introduce a bill that will protect victims and prevent this situation from ever happening again.
As for their relationship with Danielle’s grandmother, prior to English’s release, Betty told them that she had planned to allow English to move into the home until he got on his feet. Though she told CNN that she does not agree with his actions, Betty says that he is her son and she only wants to help him. Since telling the Dyers of her decision they have not spoken with her.