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Moving forward: Justice for Ginger

Several people were moved to tears by Ginger's courageous story. (Clemmer/KTUL)
Several people were moved to tears by Ginger's courageous story. (Clemmer/KTUL)
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It began as a short speech in a small room of the state Capitol. "This is the first time that I've gone public with my story," said Ginger Lewis.

But the response from Lewis's testimony, that she was a victim of sexual abuse by her father, has grown larger than she ever imagined.

"I've heard from hundreds and hundreds of survivors from all around the world," Lewis said.

She was testifying in support of House Bill 2292, seeking to extend the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims, giving them more time to seek justice. It passed unanimously in the House, but then, "it died in the Senate," Lewis said.

An indication she says, of the amount of education needed by lawmakers who often fear a tidal wave of frivolous lawsuits if the statute is changed.

"The facts and the research just don't back that up," said Lewis.

Once the law temporarily changed in California for one year, for example, only 1,150 claims were filed out of a population of 35 million people.

"I don't think there should be a statute of limitations," said Steve Kunzweiler, Tulsa County District Attorney. He's lending his support to Lewis's effort to double down on another run at the statute of limitations next year.

"We should not be depriving ourselves of the opportunity to prosecute somebody who is literally a scourge on our community and could be damaging more children out there," said Kunzweiler.

Meanwhile, out at the Muscogee Creek Nation, "what is he doing? Why is he doing this?" Lewis said to a group of people. She was invited by the Nation to share her story as part of their Family Violence Prevention Program.

"I believe many times sexual abuse, whether it's children or adults, is a hidden issue, and I believe that it's time that as a Nation we confront this, we bring it out in the open," said James Floyd, Chief of the Muscogee Creek Nation.

Honored with a tribal blanket, the event was as moving for Lewis as it was for the audience. "It was incredibly emotional and powerful," Lewis said.

As for her father? When KTUL's story first ran and we reached out to his law firm, we were notified that George Michael Lewis was on a leave of absence. It wasn't long after that before he was no longer with the firm.

And just at the beginning of May, the Oklahoma Supreme Court accepted his resignation from the bar, after a grievance had been filed challenging his, "honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer," with the court ordering that his name be stricken from the roll of attorneys.

"My hairdresser asked me if I think that my Dad wakes up every morning and feels badly about what he did to me, and I said 'absolutely not,'" said Lewis. "But I do think he wakes up every morning and realizes he's no longer an attorney."

Her mission to shed light in dark places continues on her website where she's launched a support group for other survivors of sexual abuse.

"My first support group is at the end of this month," Lewis said with a smile. Finding joy where there was once fear; or, to paraphrase John Steinbeck, don't squeak like an apologetic mouse, roar like a lion out of pride.

"From this day forward I will no longer be silent," said Lewis.

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Watch Channel 8's first story on Ginger Lewis here: Justice for Ginger.

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