There are many reasons a person may end up on the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry. Forcible rape and child molestation are obvious reasons, but other sex offenses do not even require physical sexual contact with another person—possession of child pornography, for example. Even lewd or indecent acts or proposals to a child under 16 does not require physical contact. It can involve making a sexual suggestion or even looking at a child “in any lewd or lascivious manner.”
Other acts which the state prosecutes as sex crimes involve acts which are not necessarily sex offenses on their own when these acts are committed with the intent to commit or facilitate a sex crime.
Kidnapping, for example, is simply the unlawful detention of another person. However, if kidnapping involves sexual abuse or sexual exploitation, it becomes a level 3 sex offense punishable by lifetime sex offender registration.
Here we will take a look at kidnapping and some of the other offenses Oklahoma considers to be sex crimes for the purpose of sex offender registration.
The Oklahoma law defines kidnapping in 21 O.S. § 741. Under this statute, it is a felony to seize, confine, or take another person away against his or her will with the intent to:
By law, consent is not a defense to kidnapping charges if the victim is aged 12 or younger or if the “consent” is extorted through threat or duress. In other words, a child willingly goes with a defendant to see a puppy or to get candy or receive whatever else is promised is considered to be kidnapped, even without forcible abduction. Likewise, an adult who goes with a person to avoid threatened harm for refusal is not considered to have given consent.
Kidnapping is a felony punishable by 20 years in prison. If the offense involves sexual abuse or sexual exploitation, conviction requires lifetime sex offender registration. This may include forced prostitution, sexual slavery, and sex trafficking.
While the state’s kidnapping statute does include provisions regarding the abduction of children under the age of 13, Oklahoma has a separate statute dedicated to the luring and abduction of minors under the age of 16. The “child stealing” statute is found in 21 O.S. § 891, and it prohibits “maliciously, forcibly or fraudulently taking or enticing away children.”
Under this law, taking a child under 16 with the intent to hide or keep the child from his or her parent or legal guardian is a felony, regardless of whether the child is taken by force or enticed by promises of reward. Child abduction carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, but if the act involves sexual assault or sexual exploitation, it is a level 3 sex offense requiring lifetime sex offender registration.
Offering or transporting a child for prostitution is a felony under 21 O.S. § 1087. It is against state law to offer a child under 18 for prostitution or to offer to secure or procure a minor under 18 for prostitution. It is likewise a felony to “direct, take, or transport, or to offer or agree to take or transport, or aid or assist in transporting” a minor under 18 to a person or place for the purpose of engaging in child prostitution.
Please note that while the age of consent in Oklahoma is 16, certain sex acts are off limits for minors under the age of 18. No one under the age of 18 may legally participate in pornography, prostitution, or commercial sex acts including erotic dancing. While a 17-year-old can legally consent to sex with an adult, he or she may not consent to commercial sex, or prostitution. State law considers anyone under the age of 18 engaged in prostitution to be a victim of human trafficking.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections sex offender leveling tool specifies the following acts of child procurement to be level 2 sex offenses which mandate Oklahoma sex offender registration every 6 months for 25 years:
It is not only illegal to engage in prostitution with a minor or to possess child pornography, it is illegal to allow, encourage, or facilitate a minor’s involvement in these acts.
Similar to the statute forbidding a person from procuring a minor under 18 for prostitution is the prohibition against inducing a child to engage in prostitution or otherwise detaining or compelling a minor under 18 to engage in prostitution.
Specifically prohibited acts include:
Inducing a minor under 18 for prostitution is a felony with a maximum sentence of 25 years. Upon completion of the sentence, anyone convicted must register as a Level 2 sex offender for an additional 25 years.
These days, human trafficking and child sex trafficking are very much in the news. There are several Oklahoma laws under which a person may be prosecuted for child prostitution.
Often, “child sex trafficking” is misunderstood. Many people erroneously believe that it involves forcible abduction of grade-schoolers from their suburban homes, and their subsequent sale into sex slavery. Realistically, most cases involve runaway teenagers who are persuaded to engage in prostitution in return for housing, food, and drugs.
Regardless of the circumstance leading to a charge of kidnapping, child stealing, procuring a minor for sex acts, or inducing a minor to engage in prostitution, the penalties are serious. They include not only lengthy prison sentences, but also decades or even a lifetime of sex offender registration and all the associated restrictions.
To find out more about child prostitution defense and sex crimes defense in Oklahoma, call Coventon Criminal Defense at (405) 417-3842 or submit our confidential online case review form.