Bill that toughens rape charge in Oklahoma approved unanimously
OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would make the state’s rape laws tougher following a case that made headlines around the world is headed to the governor’s desk.
Last year, prosecutors said a 17-year-old boy in Tulsa forced a heavily intoxicated girl to perform oral sex on him after the two had been drinking at a park.
The boy claimed the girl consented, but she said she couldn’t remember anything after leaving the park.
A judge dismissed the case, saying, under current law, that wasn’t a crime because the victim was so intoxicated that she was unconscious. An appeals court agreed.
Following that ruling, Rep. Scott Biggs proposed a bill that tightened the language in the law, making forcible oral sodomy mirror Oklahoma’s rape law.
The bill passed last legislative session and was signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin last June.
Now, Rep. Biggs is hoping to pass another piece of legislation that would help strengthen Oklahoma’s sexual assault laws.
House Bill 1005 would classify all rape by instrumentation cases as first-degree rape charges. Currently, state law views rape by instrumentation as second-degree rape.
The bill unanimously passed through the House and the Senate.
Now, it heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
“A lot of talk this session has been spent talking about the rights of inmates and people convicted of a crime,” Biggs said. “I am thankful that in the midst of all those conversations, both bodies have come together to pass two pieces of legislation that will help protect the rights of victims.”