A 17-year-old Oklahoma City boy was booked into the Oklahoma County Jail after he was accused of molesting at least four children.
According to reports, a call to a DHS hotline last May launched the investigation into allegations of lewd acts committed by the teen, and last week, Oklahoma City police arrested the boy in connection with the case.
After a six-month investigation by DHS and police, the teen was arrested on 8 felony complaints of Lewd Acts with a Child involving at least four children. Police say the original DHS caller said that the teen may have other victims in the neighborhood, and that their investigation is ongoing.
The teen's family says that the allegations against him are false, and they believe the complainants to be two young girls who made 5 DHS referrals in one week regarding 5 different families associated with the teen's family. The teen's pastor and family friend said, "We believe that all of the allegations that have been made by those two young ladies in its entirety from beginning and on are false." He said the family has asked
Office of the Inspector General to investigate the referrals made by the two girls in question.
In the meantime, the 17-year-old boy has been arrested and taken to the Oklahoma County Jail--an adult facility, rather than a juvenile facility. Under Oklahoma law, teens aged 15, 16, or 17 charged with certain crimes are charged as "youthful offenders" rather than juveniles. A youthful offender is subject to more serious consequences than a juvenile, who would be adjudicated in juvenile court and typically released from a juvenile facility on or around his or her 18th birthday.
Youthful Offender status is an interim between juvenile adjudication and adult prosecution. It recognizes that the crime with which the minor is charged is more serious than typical juvenile crimes like marijuana possession, shoplifting, or vandalism, while also recognizing that minors typically do not have the impulse control or full brain development one would expect from an adult.
Juveniles accused of sex crimes are treated as youthful offenders under the following circumstances:
- Age 15, 16, or 17 and charged with first degree rape, rape by instrumentation, forcible sodomy, or lewd molestation
- Age 16 or 17 and charged with second degree rape
Learn more about juvenile crimes and youthful offender or adult status here. If you or your child has been accused of a sex crime, call 405-778-4800 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with attorney Adam R. Banner.