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Oklahoma County Warrant Team Arrests Man Accused of Sex Abuse

13-Mar-2015

Acting on an anonymous tip, an Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office warrant team arrested an Edmond man charged with 14 counts of child sexual abuse. The team apprehended Phillip Libby, 34, as he was driving in Choctaw. Deputies arrested the suspect and transported him to the Oklahoma County Jail, where he remained Thursday night on $140,000 bond. 

The man is accused of sexually abusing a minor for more than two years. Court records list the date of offense for each charge from December 2011 through January 2014. 

Libby is charged with 14 counts of sexual abuse of a child in violation of 21 O.S. 843.5 (E)(F)(G). Child sexual abuse carries a maximum life sentence, but subsection F requires a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison if the child involved is under the age of 12.

In Oklahoma, there are two separate criminal charges that each pertain to what is commonly called "child molestation." These include sexual abuse of a child (§ 843.5) and lewd or indecent proposals or acts to a child under 16 (§ 1123). Typically, the particular charge filed against a defendant depends upon his or her relationship to the child involved.

The state's child sexual abuse law is included in the statutes pertaining to child abuse. This section of law defines child sexual abuse as "the willful or malicious sexual abuse, which includes but is not limited to rape, incest, and lewd or indecent acts or proposals, of a child under eighteen (18) years of age" by "any parent or other person." In general, if the person has a familial relationship with the person he or she is accused of molesting, he or she will be charged with child sexual abuse. Unlike the lewd acts statute, which involves a child under the age of 16, child sexual abuse may involve a minor who is 16 or 17 years old.

Lewd or indecent proposals or acts to a child under 16 is defined with the state's sexual battery statute, rather than with child abuse laws. This charge typically involves a person who does not have a familial relationship with the minor he or she is accused of sexually abusing. The lewd acts statute is broad in its prohibitions, and physical sexual contact with a minor under 16 is not the only sex offense listed. In fact, some acts prohibited by the lewd acts law do not involve physical contact at all. Merely suggesting sexual contact with a minor under 16 or even "look[ing] upon" a child under 16 in a "lewd or lascivious manner" is a felony sex crime. While sexual abuse of a child carries a maximum life sentence, lewd or indecent proposals or acts to a child under 16 carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. However, like child sexual abuse, lewd acts/proposals strengthens the penalty for acts against younger children. If the child involved is under 12, conviction brings a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.

Both child sexual abuse and lewd molestation are Level 3 sex offenses, which means conviction mandates lifetime sex offender registration. 

 



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