In Oklahoma, many sex crimes against children are charged as Lewd or Indecent Proposals or Acts to a Child Under 16, often shortened to Lewd Acts with Minors. Sex offenses commonly referred to as child molestation, lewd molestation, child sexual abuse, or sexual assault of children are prosecuted as Lewd Acts under state law.
Anyone accused of sexual contact with children will quickly understand how quickly a person can be vilified and convicted in the public eye. While “innocent until proven guilty” is supposed to be the standard in criminal cases, when it comes to sex crimes against children, an accused person is often quickly presumed to be guilty. Often, criminal charges are based on nothing more than an accusation. Because it is imperative that we protect child victims from abuse and sexual exploitation, a person can easily be perceived as a criminal without any evidence to support the claims. Finding skillful defense representation is critical in fighting the allegations and charges of lewd acts with minors. Quality legal counsel can mean the difference between clearing your name and being branded a sex offender for life.
Some sex crimes against children, including rape of a child under 14 and child pornography, are explicitly defined in the state statutes. However, a number of sexual acts with children that fall short of rape or do not violate otherwise specified laws are often charged as Lewd or Indecent Proposals or Acts to a Child Under 16. Oklahoma statute 21 O.S. § 1123 is a catch-all law for sex crimes with children, and under this law, virtually anything defined as “lewd or lascivious” that involves minors under the age of 16 may be prosecuted. Child molestation, indecent exposure, and soliciting minors are all included in this statute, which makes it a felony to “knowingly and intentionally” commit any of the following acts:
Conviction of any of the above offenses is punishable by 3 to 20 years in prison if the victim is aged 12 to 15. However, if the victim is younger than 12, Lewd Acts or Proposals is punishable by a minimum of 25 years in prison.
Lewd Acts is a Level 3 sex offense, and carries lifetime sex offender registration with address verification every 90 days. Sex offender status brings with it numerous restrictions and challenges, including residency restrictions, an inability to attend school functions, and public notification of one’s status as a sex offender.
Child sexual abuse is also defined in the Juvenile Code and in state laws regarding child abuse. Under these statutes, sexual abuse is described as rape, incest, or lewd acts with a child by an adult who is responsible for that child’s safety and well-being. Like lewd acts with minors, sex abuse and enabling sex abuse are punishable by a minimum of 25 years in prison if the victim is younger than 12. In all cases, child sexual abuse or enabling child sexual abuse is punishable by a maximum of life in prison.
Traditional wisdom says that children don’t lie about sex abuse, but sometimes—they do. Sometimes, they are confused. Sometimes, they are coerced. Sometimes, they are vindictive.
If you have been accused of sexually assaulting a child, if you are under investigation for child sexual abuse, or if you have been arrested on a complaint of lewd acts a minor, act now to secure strong legal defense. Call today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a lawyer whose record of sex crime defense is backed by numerous dismissals and acquittals.