Often, media reports of sex crimes are accompanied by headlines proclaiming, “Teacher Charged with Rape,” or “Oklahoma City Man Arrested for Rape.” Those who see these headlines will often assume that “rape” implies a forcible, violent act. Upon reading the story or watching the news report, however, a person quickly learns that the details of the case are much different.
Forcible rape and child rape are forms of First Degree Rape—the sex offense most people associate with the term “rape.” However, in Oklahoma there are a number of scenarios under which a person may be charged with rape for a seemingly consensual act.
Second degree rape, commonly known as statutory rape, includes acts in which the “victim” gives verbal consent to sex, but by law he or she is legally unable to do so. They are not forcible acts; they are not violent acts. They do not even necessarily include minors as the “victims.” Statutory rape is not typical of the violent crime many people associate with rape; however, it is still a felony sex offense punishable by lengthy prison terms and lifetime sex offender registration.
If you are accused of second degree rape or questioned about the nature of your relationship with a person legally unable to provide consent, it is imperative that you refuse to answer questions or discuss your case with anyone except your defense lawyer. Statutory rape is a per se offense, which means that there are no mitigating factors. If the sex occurred, the crime occurred, regardless of any other circumstances. For example, telling a police officer, “Yes, we had sex, but she told me she was 18,” would be an admission of guilt—not an extenuating circumstance that excludes you from conviction.
The consequences of conviction are severe. Personal and professional relationships are at risk, and if convicted, you will be branded a sex offender for life. If you are accused of statutory rape, call an attorney immediately.
In 21 O.S. §1111, state law outlines specific acts of nonconsensual sex that constitute rape. Of these listed acts, seven are specified as first degree rape. Among these are rape of a child under 14, forcible rape or rape achieved through threat of violence, and rape accomplished through drugging or incapacitating the victim.
After explicitly defining acts of first degree rape in 21 O.S. § 1114, the Oklahoma statute concludes, “In all other cases, rape or rape by instrumentation is rape in the second degree.” These acts of sex are typically consensual; however, any consent given is not legal.
When excluding the acts of first degree rape, the remaining offenses charged as statutory rape include the following:
“Rape is an act of sexual intercourse involving vaginal or anal penetration accomplished with a male or female who is not the spouse of the perpetrator and who may be of the same or the opposite sex as the perpetrator under any of the following circumstances:
1. Where the victim is under sixteen (16) years of age; . . .
6. Where the victim submits to sexual intercourse under the belief that the person committing the act is a spouse, and this belief is induced by artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the accused or by the accused in collusion with the spouse with intent to induce that belief. In all cases of collusion between the accused and the spouse to accomplish such act, both the spouse and the accused, upon conviction, shall be deemed guilty of rape;
7. Where the victim is under the legal custody or supervision of a state agency, a federal agency, a county, a municipality or a political subdivision and engages in sexual intercourse with a state, federal, county, municipal or political subdivision employee or an employee of a contractor of the state, the federal government, a county, a municipality or a political subdivision that exercises authority over the victim; or
8. Where the victim is at least sixteen (16) years of age and is less than twenty (20) years of age and is a student, or under the legal custody or supervision of any public or private elementary or secondary school, junior high or high school, or public vocational school, and engages in sexual intercourse with a person who is eighteen (18) years of age or older and is an employee of the same school system.”
The age of consent in Oklahoma is 16. No one under the age of 16 can legally consent to sex with anyone more than three years older. Age is not the only determining factor for statutory rape, however. No student between the ages of 16 and 20 can consent to sex with an employee of the school system which he or she attends. No jail or prison inmate can consent to sex with a law enforcement agent or corrections employee. No person in DHS custody can consent to sex with any DHS or state employee.
Remember, speaking to police, school administrators, social workers, or anyone else about the accusations against you can destroy your case. Let your lawyer do the talking for you. Hiring a defense attorney is not an indication of your guilt. It is a constitutional right. Hiring a lawyer shows that you understand your rights and that you will not allow them to be taken from you.
Second degree rape is a felony that carries a potential prison sentence of 1 to 15 years in prison. While this is much shorter than the potential life sentence associated with a first degree rape conviction, the consequences still last a lifetime. After all, there is no difference in the sex offender registration requirement of a first degree rapist and a statutory rapist. In each case, the act is a Level 3 sex offense, which requires lifetime sex offender registration. As a registered sex offender, your name and personal information will be listed on the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry. You will be subject to residency restrictions, employment restrictions, and more. You will be unable to visit school grounds, which means that you cannot even pick your own children up from school or attend their school events.
If you have been charged with second degree rape, call a lawyer now. Put the experience and success of to work for you. Call Law Firm of Oklahoma or submit our online case review form to be contacted by an attorney who can help.