Why Does Lewd Molestation Take Up Such A Big Part of Sex Crimes in Oklahoma?

Lee Berlin, Oklahoma's only private attorney that dedicates his entire practice to those individuals charges with Sex Crimes and Domestic Violence, explains what Lewd Molestation is and why it takes up such a big part of sex crimes in Oklahoma.

Today, we are talking about a very important crime in Oklahoma. One that makes up a good portion of my practice here and something you need to be concerned about. All right, guys. Lee Berlin, Oklahoma's only private attorney that devotes his entire practice to sex crimes, crimes against children and domestic assault and battery. Those things that we call the special victim cases. That's all I do. Today, we're talking about lewd molestation in Oklahoma.

What is it? How does it affect you and why is it something that you need to be concerned about? All right, first off, you're going to find the law for Lewd Molestation in Oklahoma under 21 OS 1123. That’s the statute and is a fancy way of saying here is where the law is. In the law, it will tell you that if the victim is 12, 13, 14, 15 years old, that the range of punishment is going to be from 3years in prison, up to 20 years in prison per count.

If, in your particular case, the victim/accuser is under the age of 12, the mandatory minimum range of punishment of 25 to life in prison. Gentlemen, if you're accused of molesting an 11 year old boy or girl, that's a mandatory minimum of 25 to life. However, if they're 12, 13, 14, 15 years old, the range of punishment is three to 20, and that is per count.

 Now in Oklahoma, there are lots of different ways, it's amazing all the different ways that you can be charged with lewd molestation. But inside that lewd molestation statute, there's really four ways that we see it most often. One of them, this last one, I actually have a separate and distinct video on, we'll address it, we'll talk about it, but it's going to be short.

The first way that you can look at seeing a lewd molestation case in Oklahoma, or you yourself might be charged with one, is if you were accused of touching, mauling, feeling the body or private parts of a minor, someone under the age of 16, that's critical, they have to be under the age of 16, in a lewd or lascivious manner. That means evincing or showing an eagerness for sexual indulgence. That touching, mauling, feeling or even looking upon, the statute even says looking upon, the body or private parts of a child under the age of 16 in a lewd or lascivious manner. You can still be charged with Lewd Molestation if you touch a child in a sexual manner, even if it is not the private parts, as the law states, body or private parts in a lewd or lascivious manner.

"What do we mean by that? This is geeking this thing out to a whole new level." Back when I was in high school I had to take French II, part of the college prep stuff and they didn't have Spanish. But none of these movies that we had to watch, and this would be back in '86, '87 was this French movie called Claire's Knee. It was about this guy that just had this fetish for a teenager’s knee. That was his thing. But not just any knees, knees of teenage girls.

Well, that might be okay in France, but here in Oklahoma, you touch Claire's knee and Claire's under 16, and you do it in a lewd or lascivious manner, because well, that's what blows your skirt up so to speak, well, guess what, guys? That in Oklahoma is lewd molestation. But really what are we talking about? Talking about if you touch the breast, the vagina, the buttocks, the inside of the thighs, the private areas of a boy or a girl, a minor, you're looking at lewd molestation in Oklahoma. Now, if that person is 16 or older and you touch them in a lewd or lascivious manner without their consent, that's a little bit different. The consent factor changes when they become 16. It's not lewd molestation. It's sexual battery in Oklahoma.

Because that person is now 16, the age of consent. Lewd molestation doesn't apply. If you touch a 16 year old on the body or private parts in a lewd or lascivious manner, eagerness for sexual indulgence, you aren't going to be facing a lewd molestation charge. You're going to be facing a sexual battery charge. 

Next, way you can get charged is if you force the child to touch you or someone else, their body or private parts in a lewd or lascivious manner. If you get a 12, 13, 14, 15 year old boy or girl to touch you or someone else in a sexual manner, their body or private parts, that's another way.

Now when you force the child to view a sex act or the private parts of another, you can also be charged under this law. If you take pictures of your body and private parts and you show them to someone else, force that child to view that naked body, you could also face a lewd molestation charge. If you have them watch a sex act, you masturbate, someone else masturbate, actual sexual activity, boom, lewd molestation in Oklahoma.

Finally, well, I say finally is what we see most often, not as the sum total of all the lewd molestation charges. Lewd proposal to a minor. We see this charge a lot. Where the client is communicating over the internet through social media, the telephones, where they're communicating with a minor and there is a proposal for that minor to engage in sexual intercourse with that individual. Or to secret that person to another secret location to meet you or somewhere else for the purposes of sex. It's that proposal, indecent proposal if you will, to a minor. Separate video in and of itself, but  it is a very often charged crime.

Now, lewd molestation only exists for minors under the age of 16, under the age of consent. If the person's reached the age of consent, it's impossible for the defendant to be charged with lewd molestation if the victim is 16 or older because the statute doesn't allow it. It is only designed for individuals up to the age of 15 for the victim class.

Now, do we see cases where the victim is now over the age of 16 and the defendant is being charged with lewd molestation? Yes, but that's not for conduct that was committed against the victim after they had reached the age of consent at 16. It's really for conduct that occurred when they were 14, 15 or younger. Here, the important point is the age of 12 again, for sentencing purposes. 12 and older, three to 20. Under 12, 25 to life. 


Lee Berlin
Dedicated to defending clients accused of domestic violence and sex crimes in Tulsa and throughout Oklahoma.