A legal loophole in how Oklahoma defines sexual assault and rape has led to the acquittal of a 17-year old boy who, as far as most people in the state are concerned, essentially admitted to raping an intoxicated 16-year old girl. The alleged victim was found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level over four times the legal limit after a night of drinking with her alleged assaulter. While she claims to have no memory of the night – a statement that certainly seems true due to her BAC level – the accused claims she did consent to oral sex, despite her clear intoxication.
While many believe that it is clear that sexual assault to some degree occurred, due to intoxication and stupor making it impossible for someone to provide consent, the statute in Oklahoma law said otherwise. According to the law itself, sexual assault cannot occur orally and only applies to vaginal intercourse or anal sodomy. This narrow definition led the presiding judge to acquit the young man of any wrongdoing.
All of Oklahoma was in an uproar after the ruling, though. State Representative Scott Biggs and Senator AJ Griffin were among the many who found the legal loophole deplorable and unforgivable. Together, they quickly drafted a new bill that would expand the state’s definition of rape to oral sodomy, given that the victim cannot consent due to intoxication or unconsciousness. Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this month; the changes take place immediately.
Due to the law being drafted after the acquittal, an appeal for a new verdict is not possible. The alleged rapist also cannot be tried again for the same accusations due to protection from double jeopardy.
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