Two Victory Christian employees have been released early from jail, despite the fact that they pleaded no contest to charges of failing to report child abuse.
Paul Willemstein and Anna George were found guilty of the misdemeanor charge and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
However, they both served just 15 days.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office says they were released early because they qualified for an inmate worker program called Two-For-One. Another reason they were let out early is because the jail is currently bursting at the seams.
It’s an issue we first brought to your attention in December. High unemployment, warrant arrests and a slow economy could all be contributing to the high numbers at the jail. But there’s another problem as well.
"The problem is that we were going to ship a good majority of these people down to the department of corrections next week, and now all have been cancelled,” says Major Shannon Clark.
With 77 counties in Oklahoma shipping jail inmates to the Department of Corrections, it also gets overcrowded. The Tulsa jail is maxed out at 1714 inmates, however when it hits 1650 it’s already at capacity.
"We've never seen the numbers at the Tulsa County Jail like they are now,” says Clark.
The Sheriff’s Office says the jail is on track to hit 2,000 inmates by this weekend.
As part of the inmate work program called Two-For-One, Victory Christian employees, Paul Willemstein and Anna George only served half of their sentence which equaled 15 days. FOX23 News was told by three employees at the church as well as the church PR firm that the two had returned to work. However, when we went to Victory’s offices, the HR Director would not confirm if in fact the two had returned to work.
We also reached out to Pastor Sharon Daugherty but were told she was out of town. FOX23 News did receive this statement from the Public Relations Firm that represents the church:
"We continue to use this process as an opportunity to learn and improve."
Both Anna George and Paul Willemstein were released last Friday night just before midnight.
Also accused of failing to report child abuse following accusations involving a teenage girl were Harold Sullivan, John Daugherty and his wife, Charica. All have pleaded no contest.
The rape of a teenage girl at Victory led to the conviction of Chris Denman. He pleaded guilty to six felony child sex charges and is now serving 55 years in prison. Israel Castillo was charged with making a lewd or indecent proposal to a teen girl. He pled not guilty and is headed to trial in August.