The term “forcible sodomy” is confusing to people who are not familiar with the Oklahoma sex crime laws and how they apply to various acts. Often, the term sodomy refers to anal sex; however, forcible anal penetration is prosecuted as rape in Oklahoma. Forcible sodomy as a criminal offense typically refers to oral sex, either by force or with someone who is statutorily unable to provide legal consent.
While state courts have generally come to consider oral copulation to be the definition of sodomy, state law is actually quite vague in its definition.
Bigamy, incest, and sodomy statutes are grouped together in Chapter 34 of the Oklahoma criminal code. In 21 O.S. 886, sodomy is described as “the detestable and abominable crime against nature,” and it is statutorily forbidden even among consenting adults:
“Every person who is guilty of the detestable and abominable crime against nature, committed with mankind or with a beast, is punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections not exceeding ten (10) years.”
If you have heard that oral sex is illegal in Oklahoma, you have heard correctly. However, while this law is still on the books, it is not something that would likely be prosecuted, unless a district attorney were to try and throw every possible violation against a person accused of a crime in order to try to get the maximum penalties possible. Even so, the charge would likely be dismissed. What happens between consenting adults is generally out of the court’s scope in the protection of citizens’ rights to privacy.
Forcible sodomy, on the other hand, is oral copulation that does not take place between consenting adults. However, the term “forcible” here is used somewhat loosely. Yes, forcible sodomy occurs when force or threat of violence is used to perpetrate the sexual assault, or when the act occurs against a child. However, it is also considered forcible sodomy when oral sex occurs between two willing partners, but one of them is statutorily unable to consent due to age or custodial status. Willing oral sex becomes forcible sodomy under the same criteria that willing sexual intercourse becomes statutory rape:
B. The crime of forcible sodomy shall include:
1. Sodomy committed by a person over eighteen (18) years of age upon a person under sixteen (16) years of age; or
2. Sodomy 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
3. Sodomy 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 victim or the person committing the crime; or
4. Sodomy committed by a state, county, municipal or political subdivision employee or a contractor or an employee of a contractor of the state, a county, a municipality or political subdivision of this state 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 this state; or
5. Sodomy committed upon a person who is at least sixteen (16) years of age but less than twenty (20) years of age and is a student of any public or private secondary school, junior high or high school, or public vocational school, with a person who is eighteen (18) years of age or older and is employed by the same school system. (21 O.S. 888)
In other words, this form of sexual activity is prohibited when committed through use or threat of violence; against a minor under 16; against someone in legal custody, such as a jail or prison inmate or a person in DHS custody; between any student under the age of 20 and a person aged 18 or older employed by the same school district.
Note that the statute does not specify that the person who commits the act with a student, inmate, or other person under the custody or supervision of the agency is in a position of authority. Any employee or contractor of the agency can be prosecuted under state law.
Conviction of forcible sodomy carries lifelong consequences. Anyone convicted of forcible sodomy faces up to 20 years in prison. Upon release, he or she will be required to register as a sex offender pursuant to the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act.
According to Oklahoma’s offense-based risk level assessment for sex offenders, forcible sodomy is a Level III Sex Crime, categorized along with first degree rape, statutory rape, child sexual abuse, and repeat or habitual offenses. As such, it requires anyone convicted of forcible sodomy to register as a sex offender for life.
Lifetime sex offender registration involves not only address verification to local law enforcement every 90 days and public notification of one’s sex offender status through Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry, but also myriad other consequences and restrictions. These include some or all of the following:
If you are charged with forcible sodomy, your future is at stake. Do not delay in getting the expert defense representation you need. Call Coventon Criminal Defense for a risk-free evaluation of your case.