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 NEW RULING IN LIBERIAN GIRLS' CASE IN OKLAHOMA‏

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PostSubject: NEW RULING IN LIBERIAN GIRLS' CASE IN OKLAHOMA‏   Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:25 am

NEW RULING IN LIBERIAN GIRLS' CASE IN OKLAHOMA‏
Joleen Chaney
Reporting KFOR
5:22 PM CDT, April 7, 2010

FAIRVIEW, OK -- There are new details in the custody battle over four Liberian girls living in Oklahoma. A judge's ruling in the case has lead to outrage and now a first-of-its-kind review. Last week the state attorney general filed an emergency application asking for another look at the ruling by Major County Judge Vinson Barefoot.

Judge Barefoot had ruled Ardee and Penny Tyler, the parents of the four adopted sisters, would get to keep custody of the girls, despite a conviction of abuse.

A hearing was held Wednesday inside a Major County courtroom to address the A.G.'s request; the attorney general's office is wanting to permanently terminate the parental rights of the Tylers.

The case was re-opened and DHS is now supervising the children while they're still in the Tyler home.

"It's been hell at times, but today is rewarding," the girls' attorney Melvin Johnson said. "Today is victorious and we praise God for today."

It was an answer to prayers and a first, according to Johnson, in Oklahoma history after the attorney general's office stepped in when Judge Vinson Barefoot ruled the four sisters stay in the care of their adoptive parents Penny and Ardee Tyler.

The couple, once again, was in court Wednesday as newly appointed Judge Mike Warren ruled to re-open the case.

The Tylers and their two biological children were all charged with abusing the girls.

They were sentenced last month, but amid the sexual and physical abuse, the sisters were never removed from the Tyler home.

"My position has always been that DHS could have done a whole lot more," Johnson said.

Johnson feels confident that it is only a matter of time until the girls will be taken from the Tyler's care, but until then, they will be under DHS supervision which includes monitoring and counseling.

It's a decision the district attorney agrees with for now.

"I've worked with the DHS for 35 years," Major County DA Hollis Thorp said. "I'm comfortable with that."

Thorp says the case has gone through many hands, but despite that, still believes this is the right decision.

"You've got to understand that this case went through a ton when there was a lot of transition in DHS workers, but I have to put my trust in them, and I will," he said.

There are still several legal proceedings that will have to take place before the girls are actually taken from the Tylers.

The next court hearing has not yet been set.

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