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Guthrie High School Staffer Accused of Sexual Relationship with Student

07-Sep-2015

After working less than a month as a paid employee of Guthrie Public Schools, a high school staff member has been arrested after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student. 

Byron Jay "B.J." McDonald worked as a volunteer at Guthrie High School last year, and in August of this school year, he was hired as an assistant basketball coach and a paraprofessional teacher's assistant in the school's in-school suspension program. 

On Friday, the man's short-lived employment with the district came to an end when Logan County Sheriff's deputies arrested him on complaints of first degree rape, rape by instrumentation, and forcible sodomy.

Although the allegations in the case have not been released publicly, consensual sexual relationships between students and teachers are typically charged as second degree rape--commonly called statutory rape--rather than first degree rape. 

Under Oklahoma law, second degree rape typically occurs in "consensual" relationships between two people when one of the partners is legal unable to provide consent. This generally involves an adult over 18 and a minor under 16, or a relationship between a person who is under the custody or supervision of a school or state agency and an employee of that agency. In November, changes to the state's definition of statutory rape will include a sexual relationship between a foster parent and a foster child aged 19 or younger.

First degree rape, on the other hand, typically refers to acts of rape that are non-consensual: either through force or through eliminating a person's ability to provide or withhold consent:

  • rape committed by a person over eighteen (18) years of age upon a person under fourteen (14) years of age; or 
  • rape committed upon a person incapable through mental illness or any unsoundness of mind of giving legal consent regardless of the age of the person committing the crime; or
  • rape accomplished where the victim is intoxicated by a narcotic or anesthetic agent, administered by or with the privity of the accused as a means of forcing the victim to submit; or 
  • rape accomplished where the victim is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act and this fact is known to the accused; or 
  • rape accomplished with any person by means of force, violence, or threats of force or violence accompanied by apparent power of execution regardless of the age of the person committing the crime; or
  • rape by instrumentation resulting in bodily harm is rape by instrumentation in the first degree regardless of the age of the person committing the crime; or
  • rape by instrumentation committed upon a person under fourteen (14) years of age.

In the case of an apparently consensual relationship with a minor, a person could have his or her charges inflated from second degree rape to first degree rape if he or she gave the minor alcohol or drugs prior to the sexual activity. Additionally, if the student in a case like this had a mental disability, it would be likely that the school employee would be charged with first degree rape rather than second degree rape.

Clearly, we do not know all the details of the allegations against the school employee in this particular case. Furthermore, he is to be considered innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. This article is not to presume what did or did not happen, but rather to expose how a person may be charged if accused of a sex crime involving a sexual relationship with a person under the age of 16.

There are many variables that affect how a sex crime is charged. In general, prosecutors will file the most serious charges possible, and it will be up to the defense attorney to get those charges reduced or dismissed. If you are accused of a sex crime, do not say anything to investigators, child welfare employees, or anyone else about your case. Instead, call a lawyer as quickly as possible. 



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