They say that March "comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb," and although the saying pertains to weather, it certainly seems to be true of sex crimes in Oklahoma this year. The end of February and beginning of March saw a number of cases of sex crimes against minors hit the headlines; many, but not all, of these cases involved teachers and students in Oklahoma schools. Because they work closely with minors, and because a sexual relationship between students and teachers is prohibited by state law even when the student is of legal consensual age, teachers may be at significant risk for being accused of sex crimes.
Sex crime cases that made the news and ushered in March 2013 include:
- Former Norman Public Schools teacher's aide Christopher Ray Flores, 30, Norman, was accused of molesting a 9-year-old relative. He was charged with lewd molestation in Cleveland County District Court on February 13.
- A former Oklahoma City charter school teacher, Pascal Jones, 42, Edmond, was charged with 25 felony counts including lewd acts with a minor, forcible oral sodomy, and rape by instrumentation after allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student at Marcus Garvey Leadership Charter School. He was charged February 26 in Oklahoma County District Court.
- A former substitute teacher with Choctaw-Nicoma Park schools was accused of sending sexually explicit Facebook messages and exchanging nude text messages with 14- and 15-year-old girls. David Griggs, 24, was charged in Oklahoma County District Court with lewd acts with a minor under 16. When he was questioned by police, he revealed that he exchanged explicit texts with another girl in Holdenville. According to police, Griggs contacted them to make a statement and said that he was hoping to come in and get probation so he did not "end up on Dateline or something."
- On March 1, police arrested an 18-year-old Union High School student at school on a lewd molestation complaint. Stephen Sneed, 18, Tulsa, was arrested after a 12-year-old girl told her aunt that the teen got into bed with her, touched her inappropriately, and attempted to initiate sex before she pushed him out of bed.
- On March 4, a former teacher's aide from Amarillo, Texas, was sentenced in federal court after a conviction for travelling to Oklahoma to have sex with a student. Shanice Adel Lambert, 38, was indicted on charges of production of child pornography, enticement of a minor and transportation of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. She was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in federal prison after traveling to Altus, Oklahoma, and renting a hotel room so she could have sex with a 15-year-old student.
- Also on March 4, an Oklahoma man pleaded guilty to extorting pornography from a 14-year-old girl in another state. Jeran Randall Secratt, 28, Tahlequah, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison as part of his plea agreement. He is accused of having sexually explicit online chats with a girl beginning when she was 13. He suggested she get at webcam to send him sexually explicit pictures of herself. When she refused, he threatened to send copies of their sex chats to everyone on her email contact list, including her grandparents.
It is important to remember that an accusation of a sex crime does not necessarily indicate that a crime has occurred. False accusations can destroy lives, and even truthful accusations must be carefully handled to ensure that both the victim and the defendant's rights are adequately protected. If you or a loved one needs to find a sex crime defense lawyer in Oklahoma, visit us online at oklahomalegalgroup.com/practice-areas/sex-crimes and submit our free case review form.