The Phillips & Associates Oklahoma Law Blog


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By Dustin Phillips on
May 16, 2014
December 31, 2019

The leader of a Baptist church in Tulsa has been arrested and jailed on suspicion of six counts of lewd molestation. Owasso police say that a teen girl, aged 14 or 15 according to varying reports, told them that Damien Keith Bonner, 32, pastor of Galilee Baptist Church in Tulsa, had inappropriate sexual contact with her at his apartment in Owasso. According to reports, the girl was friends with Bonner's children and met him at the church.After an investigation by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) and Owasso police, a warrant was issued for Bonner's arrest. He was apprehended by the Oklahoma Violent Crimes Task Force on Wednesday evening and booked into the Tulsa County Jail. He is being held on $300,000 bond.Police say they have tried to speak with church members about the allegations, but they accuse the church of being "uncooperative" with the investigation into the alleged acts of its senior pastor.Reports indicate that the girl said that the pastor molested her when she was spending the night with her friends at his home. Police say that Bonner bought the teen a cell phone and that the two exchanged nude pictures of each other.A Tulsa County court records search shows that Bonner has been formally charged with six counts of Lewd Molestation in Violation of 21 O.S. 1123. The statute under which he is charged deals with Lewd or Indecent Acts or Proposals to a Child Under 16.Lewd acts with a minor is a felony sex offense. It prohibits a great number of acts against minors if they are performed for the sexual gratification of the defendant. These can be as obvious as physical sexual molestation or as subjective as "looking upon" a minor under 16 in a lewd or lascivious manner. Lewd or Indecent Acts or Proposals to a Child Under 16 may entail any of the following acts:

  • Soliciting a minor, or someone the defendant believed to be a minor, to engage in sex
  • Looking at, touching, or feeling the body or private parts of a minor
  • Asking, inviting, or enticing a minor to go somewhere secluded for the purpose of sexual activity
  • Expose a child to another person's private parts or to pornography
  • Cause or force a child to witness a sex act performed in his or her presence
  • Urinate, defecate, or ejaculate on or in the presence of a child for the purpose of sexual stimulation
  • Force or require a child to touch his or her own private parts or those of another person

Lewd Acts or Proposals to a minor is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison for each offense; however, if the victim is younger than 12, the crime carries a minimum sentence of 25 years to life. Additionally, lewd acts with a minor is a Level 3 sex offense mandating lifetime sex offender registration.


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