The Stigma of a Child Sexual Abuse Charge
A charge of child sexual abuse is highly inflammatory. When a child is abused, adults become rightfully outraged. Tempers flare, and sometimes the wrong person is charged. And just the charge of child sexual abuse in Oklahoma can stay with a person long after they are exonerated.
Child Sexual Abuse Laws in Oklahoma
Oklahoma law prohibits a caretaker or other person from abusing, neglecting, committing any sexual abuse, or exploiting a child. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 843.1
The law prohibits the direct abuse of a child, but it also prohibits the enabling of abuse of a child, including sexual abuse of a child.
Any person who willfully or maliciously engages in child abuse, including child sexual abuse, may be convicted of a felony. This is punishable by up to life in prison, a fine between $500 and $5,000, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 843.5
Under this statute, child sexual abuse is defined as willful or malicious sexual abuse, including but not limited to rape, incest, and lewd or indecent acts or proposals of a child under the age of 18.
If the child involved is under 12 years of age, the punishment for child sexual abuse is particularly harsh. If convicted, you could spend at least 25 years in prison and pay a fine of from $500 to $5,000.
Here is a scenario. The father of a young child directly sexually abuses the child over a long period of time. The mother and wife turns a blind eye to the abuse, but understands at some level that it is happening. She doesn’t report it and allows it to continue. Both the father and the mother can be convicted of child sexual abuse under this statute.
Lewd or Indecent Acts or Proposals of a Child Under 16
This is the other statute that alleged abusers are often prosecuted under. In Oklahoma, it’s against the law to make any sort of indecent proposal to a child. This includes all such oral and written communications, including “sexting.”
Likewise, it is against the law to touch, maul or lasciviously look upon the private parts of a child, engage in any sexual activity with a child, or to entice a child to a private place with the intention of doing so. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1123
The law makes it clear that physical contact with the child is not required for a conviction. The sexual nature of the exchange is all that is required. Thus, forcing a child to view any sort of pornographic materials, urinating or defecating on the child, and exposing yourself sexually to a child are all against this law in addition to the above actions. The statute requires that the abuser be at least three years older than the victim.
Penalties are severe. Prison terms are from 3 to 20 years if the child is under 16, and at least 25 years if the child is under 12. Subsequent convictions could mean a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole.
Sex Offender Registration is Required
Because these are sex crimes, if convicted, you will have to register with the Oklahoma Sex Crimes Registry. A conviction of Lewd or Indecent Acts or Proposals is a Level 3 sex offense. That means that if you are convicted, you will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.
Child sexual abuse is a serious crime for all concerned. Sometimes, when emotions runs hot, the wrong person is accused. If you are facing child sexual abuse charges, get help immediately. An experienced Claremore criminal defense attorney can help.
These can be difficult cases for the prosecutor to prove, so everything that you say and do matters. Your attorney can help you to draft a strong defense.
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