Oklahoma legislators seek change in sodomy law after ruling

OKLAHOMA CITY – After Oklahoma’s highest court dismissed a criminal charge against a 17-year-old boy accused of forcing a heavily intoxicated girl to perform oral sex, outraged lawmakers vowed Thursday they’ll move quickly to fix an apparent loophole in the state’s forcible sodomy law.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals’ unanimous ruling, first reported by Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit journalism corporation, said last month that while Oklahoma’s rape law addresses unconscious or intoxicated victims, the forcible sodomy law does not. The court said it could not expand the “fair meaning” of the law to justify someone’s prosecution.

“The Legislature’s inclusion of an intoxication circumstance for the crime of rape … is not found in the five very specific requirements of forcible sodomy,” the court wrote.

The teen suspect was initially charged in 2015 in Tulsa County District Court. A lower court judge had dismissed the case last year, but the state appealed.

State Rep. Scott Biggs, a former prosecutor, said he was “horrified” by last month’s decision and is drafting language that legislators could consider as early as next week.

“I think the judges made a grave error, but if they need more clarification, we are happy to give it to them by fixing the statute,” said Biggs, R-Chickasha.

Although several key legislative deadlines have passed, Biggs said he intends to amend an existing bill that deals with the same section of law to expand the definition of forcible sodomy.

“That was one of the only Title 21 bills available, so we gutted all that language and inserted the new language to fix this issue,” Biggs said.

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