Oklahoma City Lawyer Arrested on Child Porn Complaint

Some local attorneys sure are not doing much to enhance the image of their profession. First, there is this guy, accused of smuggling sex toys and lube into the Oklahoma County jail. Then there is the lawyer accused of traveling to Peru to have sex with underage girls. Now, an Oklahoma City lawyer has been arrested on child pornography complaints for allegedly recording a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old girl. The first two attorneys mentioned are criminal defense lawyers, and if they are guilty of the acts with which they are accused, they should have known better. Smuggling contraband into a penal institution is a felony on the first offense, punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison and a fine of $100 to $1,000 (57 O.S. 21). Traveling to foreign lands to engage in illicit sexual activity, often called "sex tourism," is a federal offense punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison (18 U.S.C. 2423). The third lawyer, the one arrested for allegedly recording sex with a teenager in his hotel room, is listed as an attorney practicing construction law, consumer law, commercial litigation, and family law. Maybe, because he is not a criminal defense lawyer, he did not fully understand the illegality of his actions. Still, if he did in fact videotape himself having sex with the girl, common sense should have told him it was a bad idea. Now, to be fair, in most situations, there is nothing illegal about a 61-year-old man having sex with a 17-year-old girl. While it may not be morally acceptable by the general public, if the older person is not in authority over the younger person (for example, a student/teacher relationship or a corrections employee/inmate relationship), then there is nothing legally amiss. The age of consent in Oklahoma is 16. However, engaging in sex with a 16 or 17 year old, while not necessarily illegal, can be tricky if a person is planning to exchange explicit photos or to record sexual encounters. That is because both state and federal law describe child pornography as sexually explicit images of a minor under the age of 18. While it may be legal for you to have sex with a 16 or 17 year old, it is a sex offense to capture visual documentation of the act. If, in fact, the attorney did record sex with the teen girl and her friend, as accused, there are a number of crimes with which he may be charged:

  • Possession of child pornography (21 O.S. 1024.2)
  • Manufacture of child pornography (21 O.S. 1021.2)
  • Procuring minors for participation in child pornography (21 O.S. 1021.2)
Under Oklahoma law, each separate image, or multiple copies of the same image, counts as a separate offense. Likewise, since there are two girls who said that they allowed the man to record them, the defendant would likely be charged with separate counts for each minor he recorded. Depending upon the offense with which the accused man is formally charged, he could face up to 20 years in prison. Furthermore, if convicted, he will be required to register as a sex offender for up to 25 years. Remember, it was not a crime for him to have sex with the 17-year-old girls--only a crime to record it. It is unclear whether or not the accused man understood that recording a legal act could be an illegal act--a stringently prosecuted sex crime that could leave a person branded as a pedophile. Regardless, ignorance of the law does not excuse, and the lawyer needs a lawyer himself.

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