Valley Brook Residents Protest Coffee Shop Ministry

Valley Brook, Oklahoma, is a small Oklahoma City-metro area town with a big reputation. The town of just over 800 citizens is known mostly for its "red light district," with several strip clubs in the area.

Prostitution is allegedly rampant in these clubs, and one state representative went so far as to accuse the Valley Brook Police Department of turning a blind eye to illegal sex acts in the strip clubs in order to support the town's primary economy.

Police vehemently deny the representative's remarks, calling them libelous; in fact, an Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office investigation last summer led to the arrests of 16 exotic dancers at the Little Darlings Ultra Club on lewd acts complaints.

Valley Brook is also known as the home of the Hand Up Ministries sex offender housing. With "zone of safety" requirements leaving up to 85 percent of Oklahoma City off-limits for sex offenders, Hand Up Ministries provides a place for registered sex offenders to live while requiring them to undergo treatment and maintain a job. At one time, approximately 250 men lived at Hand Up Ministries. However, many people did not like the idea of a large community of sex offenders in the metro area.

First, a law was clarified which prevented sex offenders from sharing a trailer, forcing several of the men out of their residences and into tents on the property. Next, the city stated that the "tent city" on the property was against zoning regulations, and the men were forced out of the ministry.

Some 100 sex offenders were forced out of the facility, and since then, 66 have failed to register and 11 have provided a false address, claiming to still live at Hand Up Ministries. Most of these men, Hand Up Ministry director David Nichols says, are living in a tent city in an undisclosed location, where they are not required to undergo drug testing or treatment, where they are not required to find gainful employment, and where they are under the radar of law enforcement--all elements which contribute to recidivism among sex offenders.

Hand Up Ministries has retained a lawyer to challenge the constitutionality of the new law.  Now, another Valley Brook ministry has come under the gun. Joe's Addiction was established as a coffee shop, but it also serves as a food pantry and ministry for the homeless, sex offenders, and addicts.

Residents say that the transient population in Valley Brook has increased since the opening of Joe's Addiction and they argue that the establishment has exceeded the limits of its license as a coffee shop. The coffee shop's owners say that targeting their establishment is misguided.

They did not bring the sex offenders and transients to Valley Brook; rather, the population has been growing all along, in part because of the problems mentioned in the previous paragraph. Closing the shop, they say, will not reduce the influx of homeless, sex offenders, and addicts. Next month, Joe's Addiction faces the loss of its business license if the Valley Brook town trustees rule that the coffee shop has overstepped the limits of that license.

Sex Offenders and Sex Crimes

For more information regarding sex crimes and their punishments please visit this resource https://www.oklahoma-criminal-defense.com/sex-crimes or visit the Phillips & Associates home page.

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