When his client was charged with second degree rape for allegedly having sex with a sixteen-year-old, one Oklahoma defense attorney's approach was to challenge the constitutionality of the law under which the defendant was charged.
Oklahoma's Second Degree Rape Laws
Now an Oklahoma County District Court Judge has upheld the state's statutory rape law and denied a motion to dismiss the charges. At issue is a section of the state's rape code that prohibits teachers from engaging in sexual contact with students in the same school district, even if the student has reached the age of sixteen, the age of legal consent in Oklahoma.
Tyrone Lamont Nash, 33, of Oklahoma City, a Western Heights High School basketball coach, was charged under this statute after a student at the school told police she had been having sex with the teacher.
Nash was charged with five counts of second degree rape and five counts of forcible oral sodomy. His criminal lawyer asserts that the charges against Nash should be dismissed because the law under which he was charged violates his rights to privacy, because the minor was of age to give legal consent and Nash was not the girl's teacher or coach and therefore had no undue influence over her.
The attorney's argument was based on a case in a neighboring state in which the law was ruled unconstitutional after a teacher was criminally charged for having consensual sex with an eighteen-year-old student.
In that case, the court ruled that the teacher and student were both legally consenting adults, and the law prohibiting consensual sex between the two was a violation of privacy rights. Oklahoma County District Court Judge Jerry D. Bass, however, ruled that the Oklahoma law is constitutional, saying it protects students and provides a safe educational environment.
He said that Nash's case differed from the case in the bordering state in that Nash is accused of sex with a consenting minor, whereas the other case dealt with sex between consenting adults. (read more about consent here.)
Nash's attorney is expected to appeal the judge's ruling, arguing that the statute governing sex between students and school district employees should be rewritten to apply only to teachers, administrators, or employees who have influence or control over the student with whom a relationship may occur.
Oklahoma statutory rape laws not only set the age of legal consent at sixteen, but also prohibit sex between certain parties where it is determined that one exerts power, control, or influence over the other. Prohibited relationships include those between students and school district employees and those between inmates and Department of Corrections employees.
Seeking Legal Defense
Anyone accused of violating this statute should quickly find a criminal defense lawyer for legal representation. Find a statutory rape lawyer in Oklahoma.