Prosecutions for sexual crimes against children must now be initiated by the forty-fifth birthday of the alleged victim. If the victim is 18 years old or older, then the prosecution must now be initiated within 12 years after the discovery of the crime. Previously, prosecution of sexual crimes against children must have been initiated within 12 years after the discovery of the crime–regardless of the victim’s age. The sexual crimes against children include rape or forcible sodomy, sodomy, lewd or indecent proposals or acts against children, involving minors in pornography, child abuse pursuant, and child trafficking.
This change in law makes it possible to prosecute more people for sexual crimes against children. For example, under the previous law, an individual sexually assaulting a 15 year old could not be prosecuted once the victim turned 28 years old if the crime was discovered when the victim was 15 years old. Under the new law, the victim in the example would have an additional 17 years to have that crime prosecuted.
Prosecutions for the sexual crimes against children may be started at any time after the commission of the offense if 1) physical evidence is collected and preserved that is capable of being tested to obtain a profile from DNA and 2) the identity of the offender is subsequently established through the use of a DNA profile. A prosecution under this exception must be started within three years from the date on which the identity of the suspect is established by DNA testing.
The following changes were also made:
- No prosecution for sexual crimes against children may be based upon the memory of the victim that has been recovered through psychotherapy unless there is some evidence independent of such repressed memory.
- Any person who knowingly and willfully makes a false claim of a sexual crime against a children or a claim that the person knows lacks factual foundation may be reported to local law enforcement for criminal investigation and, upon conviction, shall be guilty of a felony.
- With regards to sexual crimes against children, “discovery” means the date that a physical or sexually related crime involving a victim 18 years old or older is reported to a law enforcement agency.
HB 1468 amended 11 O.S. § 152. This change went into effect on November 1, 2017.
Sources: HB 1468 & 11 O.S. § 152