Claremore Lawyer BlogIs Permitting Child Abuse in Oklahoma a Crime?

permitting child abuse in OklahomaUnfortunately, permitting child abuse in Oklahoma happens, especially in families trapped in patterns of violence and abuse.  Permitting child abuse by injury is considered a serious crime in Claremore. Oklahoma is a state that prosecutes the enabler to the same extent as it does the perpetrator.

Child Abuse Defined

In Oklahoma, child abuse is legally defined as the willful or malicious, threatened, or actual harm to a child or the failure to protect a child from real or threatened harm to their health, safety, or welfare.  Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 843.5

The law is meant to be broad. The harm can be physical, mental, or emotional. It also includes willfully or maliciously causing major trauma to a child, including injuring, torturing, or maiming a child.

Permitting Child Abuse by Injury

Enabling child abuse is defined by Oklahoma law as causing, procuring, or permitting any willful or malicious act or the threat of harm to a child. It includes the failure to protect a child from harm.  Permitting child abuse means to authorize or allow for the care of a child by an individual when the person authorizing or allowing such care knows or reasonably should know that the child will be placed at risk of abuse as proscribed by this subsection.

An enabler, such as a mother or father who turns a blind eye, may be charged with child abuse by injury under this statute. If one parent is involved in directly abusing a child and the other parent knowingly enables the abuse in any way, both parents may be prosecuted. Or alternatively, allowing your drunk and angry spouse to move beyond ordinary spanking of your child to something more abusive may open you up to a charge of enabling child abuse by injury.

Elements of the Crime

Like all crimes in Oklahoma, permitting child abuse by injury has certain elements. All of the elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. An unproven element means that there is no conviction.

These are the elements that must be proven:

  • a person responsible for a child’s health, safety, or welfare
  • knowingly permitted injury, torture, maiming, or the use of unreasonable force
  • upon a child.

OUJI-CR 4-36


There are defenses available to you. Any fact or piece of evidence that goes toward disproving a required element provides a defense. A Claremore lawyer can help you construct a viable defense.

For example, a caretaker must act knowingly. That means that the caretaker either knows or reasonably should know that the child will be injured.

However, the prosecution can use circumstantial evidence to show knowledge. So, if the child was hurt by this person before, the caretaker should have reasonably known it could happen again. This applies even if the perpetrator did not tell the caretaker that they intended to injure the child.

Penalties for Permitting Child Abuse By Injury

Permitting child abuse by injury is a felony in Oklahoma. The crime is punishable by anywhere from one year in county jail to life imprisonment, a fine between $500 and $5,000, or both.

In cases of Claremore child sexual abuse, the penalty is 25 years to life in prison if the victim was under 12 years of age.

All prison time is long. If you are facing charges for this crime, you want to get the best representation that you can.

Free Consultation with an Experienced Claremore Criminal Defense Attorney

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