Oklahoma House ‘page program’ temporarily suspended during sexual assault investigation

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma House 'page program' is temporarily suspended as police investigate claims of a female student being assaulted by a male student.

Midwest City police chief Brandon Clabes confirms the alleged incident happened Tuesday night around 8 p.m. at a hotel in Midwest City.

'Pages' in the Oklahoma House of Representatives High School Page Program are assigned to the Capitol for one week during the legislative session.  The students work in the House chamber during daily session and also run errands for the Representatives and House staff under strict supervision.

According to Chief Clabes, the male and female pages involved were staying at the hotel.

Speaking with reporters Thursday, House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka said they were aware of the incident.

"We don’t have much information at this time. I can tell you and all I can tell you is the appropriate authorities are following up on the alleged incident," Speaker McCall. "This has to do with an alleged incident between two minors that were part of this week’s Page program and we just don’t know any facts and it would be reckless for anybody in this in this body to comment."

Clabes confirms the allegation surrounds sexual assault; however, he could not expand further beyond that. The alleged victim reported the incident to her high school. They contacted the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which later got in touch with police in Midwest City.

The investigation comes at the same time a bill pushing for education on consent fails in the Oklahoma House.

"Let’s think about that. If this did happen, then yes, Lauren’s Law would be directed to prevent this type of thing from happening," said bill author Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman.

Rep. Rosecrants said there was a lot of misinformation and understanding surrounding House Bill 1007, dubbed 'Lauren's Law', but it's something the former teacher said he would bring up again in future legislation.

"I had to actually report sexual assault to the authorities four or five times," Rep. Rosecrants said. "I’ve had conversations with kids who have been sexually assaulted in middle school, so in high school when I taught there, it was just as bad."

Speaker McCall said moving forward, they will be reviewing protocols of the page program.

"We don’t know what’s happened so far and once again, I think it would be reckless for any person — any member in the House of Representatives to make any comments on the situation until we know the full story," McCall said.

The Oklahoma Senate has a separate page program, and Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat said Thursday he plans to review the program’s protocols to make sure students are protected.

No arrests have been made, according to police. Interviews are still being conducted.

The Midwest City Police Department is the lead agency in the investigation.

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