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In 2014, an Oklahoma teen was charged with sexual battery after he engaged in sexual conduct with a 16 year old friend.  The charges stated that the girl had been drinking a large amount of vodka before the assault.  Her blood-alcohol level was 4 times more than the legal limit to be driving in Oklahoma and was more than enough to ensure that she had alcohol poisoning.

Other teenagers who were there testified that the girl was stumbling around and had to be carried to the defendant’s vehicle to be taken home. Others there testified that the girl was in and out of consciousness during the ride home and was incapacitated. The girl was eventually dropped off at a relatives home and was taken to a Tulsa, Oklahoma hospital which revealed that she had been sexually assaulted.

The boy was initially charged with forcible rape and oral sodomy, however the rape charge was dismissed because there was no indication that a rape had taken place. The sodomy charge was then dismissed by the Tulsa County District Court stating that the law didn’t recognize unconsciousness and intoxication as elements of the crime, therefore being unconscious and intoxicated at the time did not constitute forcible oral sodomy.

On March 24, 2016, the Oklahoma Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the charges because of the way the oral sodomy law in Oklahoma is written. In a quote from their opinion, they stated that,“forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation.”

The ruling has caused outrage in Oklahoma and across the nation as there have been calls to toughen sexual crime laws and consent laws. The prosecutors office stated that the court’s ruling was offensive and dangerous and that the court could have interpreted the law as the legislature intended the law to be written.

Oklahoma lawmakers have called for changes to the legislation to ensure that people who violate the law aren’t let go because of the “court created loophole” in the law itself. Oklahoma Senator Scott Biggs, a former prosecutor, has placed an amendment in another bill that is before the legislature that will close the loophole for good.

 

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