Unregistered Sex Offender Arrested on OSU Campus

The local headlines make it sound like a violent, dangerous, sexual predator has been arrested on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. However, as we know from other blog posts, being branded as a sex offender--even as a high-risk sex offender--often has little correlation with whether or not a person is really a continued threat to society. Certainly, when presented a certain way, the circumstances of any sex offender case can sound menacing: Christopher Deraleau, a high-risk sex offender convicted of the sexual assault of two children, was a fugitive from Texas when he was arrested by U.S. marshals on the OSU campus. Child victims, high-risk, sex offender, fugitive, U.S. marshals--all of these trigger words make it sound as if Deraleau was an imminent threat to the safety and well-being of OSU students and the children of Stillwater. But do these loaded words tell the truth of the matter? Perhaps. But not likely. Let's take a closer look at Deraleau's arrest and conviction and see what else may be possible. Christopher Deraleau was convicted in February 2009--when he was 19 years old. His victims, the "children" in the case, were 14 and 15. Court records were unavailable to provide details of the case, but it is possible, given the scenario described, that Deraleau was 18 years old at the time of his offenses. In Oklahoma, the age of consent to sexual activity is 16. In Texas, it is 17. Texas law, like Oklahoma law, has a "close in age" provision that would not make it illegal for an 18 year old to have consensual sex with a 15 year old (the 14 year old, however, would still be off-limits). If Deraleau was, in fact, 19 at the time of the offenses, then only one year separated him from being a guy with a 15-year-old girlfriend and being a high-risk sex-offender. Of course, dealing in what-ifs doesn't determine the true scenario. Deraleau was convicted of illegal sexual activity with minors. He was young, but the girls were younger, and were beneath the age of legal consent. He was served three years in prison, and is required to register quarterly as a sex offender. Deraleau, now 24, last registered in late April, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. According to the terms of his risk-level assessment and sex offender registration requirements, he should have registered again in July, but failed to do so. Under Oklahoma law, he should have notified campus police and local law enforcement when he decided to spend more than three days here. Still, when looking at the case without the buzzwords, it seems, if not legal or acceptable, at least understandable, that a young man sentenced to a lifetime of carrying the stigma of "Sex Offender," would want to shed that burden and try to make a fresh start. Unfortunately for those subject to offense based risk-level assessment that does not consider the details of the case, putting the past behind them is all but impossible. If you are facing sex crime charges, you need experienced legal counsel immediately. Read more about Oklahoma Sex Offender registration on our website, or click here to find an attorney backed by a record of successful sex crime defense.

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