It was a hard decision, but one that had to be made.

Former Eufaula Police Chief Larry Osmond said his court case, in which he and his wife Carol were each given a two-year deferred sentence for felony violation of a custody order, isn’t really about him or Carol. It’s about their granddaughter, Christyn Luster.

The Osmonds had entered Alford pleas in September to the charges, which had alleged the Osmonds deliberately kept Christyn from her paternal grandparents, despite a court order to turn the child over.

Larry Osmond was fired from his job as the head of Eufaula’s police department after he and Carol were indicted by a multi-county grand jury in March 2004.

Still, he wrote in an e-mail to the McAlester News-Capital, “It’s not really about us. It’s about the child. How has this mess affected or still affecting her?”

The long time police officer said he believed Christyn had been molested by her paternal grandfather, therefore he didn’t believe he could in good conscience turn the child over to William “Darrell” Luster.

“Myself, as a police officer, I had probable cause and reason to believe that a crime had been committed because of personally observing behavior and statements from Christyn,” Osmond wrote. “There were sworn statements from other law enforcement and (Department of Human Services) personnel that confirmed child molesting by the other grandparents.”

In addition, Osmond said, “I found out about another victim (another grandchild) that this same grandparent had been accused of victimizing. She is older and has been in therapy for years and is now dealing with more issues from this. Her story is frighteningly similar to ours.

“I took an oath in 1971 to protect. At what point would you break your oath of office and not fight for a victim that can’t protect themselves?”

People who suspect child abuse or neglect are required by state law to report it. According to Catherine Burton, a lawyer for the Osmonds, that’s just what the former Eufaula couple did.

But without result, Burton said.

Officials with the McIntosh County office of the Oklahoma DHS declined to comment on the case. Officials at the main DHS office in Oklahoma City did not return telephone calls by press time.

Still, despite the legal troubles he’s had since the case began, Larry Osmond is adamant that people need to stand up for children.

“Believe the children,” he wrote. “Teach the children that it is not right for anyone to touch them inappropriately.” If such touching does occur, they should “Report it to DHS child welfare, the police, and then make personal contact with the district attorney and advise them that you reported it to DHS. Check with the district attorney often to be sure that DHS is investigating the report and has notified the district attorney.

“Also, get involved in advocacy groups that support you and your child (grandchild) and help you traverse the legal system.”

How has the entire legal tangle affected Larry and Carol Osmond?

“In so many ways that you would never imagine. …

“What would you do if it were your granddaughter or daughter? That would be the question that I would (and have) asked myself.”

Contact Doug Russell at drussell@mcalesternews.com.

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