Oklahoma has a number of laws that protect children against sexual contact and abuse from an adult. There is some overlap in these laws, so a prosecutor in Sapulpa has a great deal of discretion regarding how to charge an adult. Most often though, lewd molestation of a minor under 16 years of age is charged under the same law that prohibits lewd or indecent proposals to a child under 16. In addition to prohibiting lewd proposals to a minor, this law also prohibits lewd and indecent acts with a minor.
Lewd Molestation of a Minor Defined
Oklahoma law defines lewd or indecent acts or proposals to a child under 16 as knowingly and intentionally engaging in any sort of lewd or indecent act or proposal with a child under the age of 16 or who is reasonably believed to be under that age. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1123
The law specifically addresses both sexual communications and sexual acts. It is often thought of as a “catch-all” law, meaning that a prosecutor can always use this law to charge a potential defendant if others do not quite fit the facts or circumstances.
With regard to acts, the statute contains a long list of prohibited acts that is representative. But any sex act with a child, even if the act is not listed, is prohibited.
The list includes:
- lasciviously looking at a child’s private parts;
- engaging in any sexual act;
- forcing a child to view or engage in a sexual act;
- viewing pornography;
- urinating or defecating;
- sexually exposing yourself to a child;
- enticing a child to a private location with the intent to have sexual contact;
- penetration; or
- sexual touching of any sort.
In order to be charged under this statute, the child must be under 16 and the perpetrator must be at least three years older than the victim.
If convicted, a defendant could face a prison term from 3 to 20 years if the child is under 16, and at least 25 years in prison if the child is under 12. Another conviction could mean life without the possibility of parole.
The Crime May Also Be Charged as Child Sexual Abuse
Oklahoma law also prohibits the sexual abuse of a child. Child sexual abuse is legally defined as the willful and malicious touching or other sexual act or activity with a minor. It includes, but is not limited to, rape, incest, and lewd and indecent acts or proposals with or to a child.
The crime is a felony punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine between $500 and $5,000, or both. If the child involved is under 12 years of age, a defendant could face at least 25 years in prison. Okla. Stat. tit.21 § 843.5
Defenses may be available to you. The facts of your case are very important and it is important that you discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
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