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For most Oklahomans the state's laws on forcible sodomy are typically not well-known. But that won't help you if you're facing criminal charges. If you or someone you love have been accused it is best to seek the help of an attorney familiar with forcible sodomy law here in Oklahoma.
In many circumstances this may seem like a crime that is none of the state's business, but as defense attorneys we see cases come up more often than you might think.
Oklahoma is sometimes draconian in the language its legislature uses when drafting statutory law. Many times it is merely a result of stagnant legislative efforts and failure to update in accordance with political correctness. Oklahoma’s forcible sodomy law is a prime example:Any person who forces another person to engage in the detestable and abominable crime against nature, upon conviction, is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a period of not more than twenty (20) years.
You may ask yourself, “What could they mean by ‘the detestable and abominable crime against nature’?” Basically, the Oklahoma Legislature is referring to any type of sexual activity that does not involve a vagina. Sodomy is defined elsewhere as anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex.
Though the Supreme Court of the United States decision in Lawrence struck down sodomy laws aimed only at homosexuals, this Oklahoma law remains on the books, even though its provisions closely mirror the state’s rape statutes.
Consequently, under Oklahoma law, a person can be convicted of “sodomy” under the following circumstances:
Sodomy is committed by someone over the age of eighteen (18) upon a person under the age of sixteen (16); or
Sodomy is committed upon someone who cannot give legal consent, regardless of their age, due to any incapacity resulting from mental illness or any unsoundness of mind; or
Sodomy accomplished with another person, irrespective of their age, when the act arises from force, violence, or threats of force or violence, so long as the person committing the act has the apparent power to execute the force, violence, or threat; or
Sodomy committed by a state, county, municipal or political subdivision employee (or contractor for the same) upon a person who is under the legal custody, supervision or authority of a state agency, a county, a municipality, or a political subdivision of Oklahoma; or
Sodomy committed upon someone who is at least sixteen (16) years old but less than twenty (20) years old, so long as that person is a student of any public or private secondary school, junior high, high school, or public vocational school in Oklahoma, by a person who is eighteen (18) years of age or older, if and when that person is employed by the same school system as the alleged victim; or
Sodomy committed upon an unconscious person when the unconsciousness should be known to the accused;
Sodomy committed upon a person intoxicated by a narcotic or anesthetic agent administered by the accused (date rape); or
Sodomy committed upon a person who is at least sixteen (16) years old—but less than eighteen (18) years old—by a person responsible for the child's health, safety or welfare, including, but not be limited to: a parent, a legal guardian, a custodian, a foster parent, a person eighteen (18) years or older whom the child's parent cohabitates with, any other adult residing in the child’s home, any agent or employee of a public or private residential home, and any owner, operator, or employee of a child care facility.
As such, consent does not matter in many cases of “forcible” sodomy. Even though an eighteen-year-old student may have agreed to consensual oral sex with the eighteen-year-old janitor at the school she attends, the janitor could still find himself charged with forcible oral sodomy although no “force”—as the term is commonly used—was ever applied or threatened.
This confusing issue comes about due to the legal notion that someone who is under the supervision of another cannot legally “consent” to sexual contact with that supervisor. The idea revolves around the claim that a relationship between someone in a supervisory role and those they supervise is one intrinsically wrought with the possibility of coercion or compulsion.
While these charges are not well-known, they are VERY serious. Hiring an experienced defense lawyer should be your first step if you or someone you love is facing charges.
As defense attorneys we know that sodomy charges are relatively common. As with many other sex crimes, charges such as forcible oral sodomy are often filed alongside other charges when there are multiple separate acts involved in a sexual assault. As one can imagine, a sexual assault is very rarely limited to one single touching or act of penetration.
Moreover, when the charges involve multiple sexual encounters over a period of time, the likelihood that various and numerous different sex acts will have occurred throughout the contacts rises exponentially.
In addition to the potential prison time, forcible sodomy is a sex crime that will require lifetime registration on the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry.