Child abuse is a grave crime in Muskogee, Oklahoma. It can include physical, sexual, and mental abuse as well as neglect. It consists of all acts done willfully to maim, injure, or torture a child. Any form of abuse perpetrated against a child in Muskogee can lead to severe consequences when caught.
Oklahoma laws describe child abuse as when a person responsible for a child’s welfare, safety, or health willfully and maliciously harms or threatens harm to a minor. Child abuse includes all mental and physical injury and neglect that does not occur by accident. Okla. Stat. tit. 10A § 1-1-105
The law treats a person who enables child abuse and the perpetrator in the same way.
How Oklahoma Law Defines Child Abuse
Child abuse can take various forms. It can include:
- Neglect. Neglect includes abandonment and the failure of a parent or caretaker to provide adequate care of any form, be it medical, educational, housing, or any of the necessities of life to the child.
- A physical injury that is malicious and intentional.
- Mental and Emotional Injury. Injuring a child mentally and emotionally happens when a caretaker continually fails to care for a child emotionally and damages the child through rejection, isolation, and abandonment.
- Sexual Abuse. Abuse of a sexual nature includes all indecent and lewd acts, such as exposing one’s genitals to a child, involving a child in pornography, exposing a child to pornography, incest, rape, and sodomy.
Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 843.5
When a parent uses reasonable force to discipline a child, they cannot be found guilty of child abuse. Also, when in good faith, a parent relies on spiritual means such as prayer and faith to heal a sick child, they cannot be found guilty of neglect.
Burden of Proof
The state must prove all the following elements beyond a shadow of a doubt to obtain a conviction on child abuse charges.
- A person willfully or maliciously
- harmed or threatened harm to the health, safety, or welfare
- of a child under the age of 18
- a person responsible for a child’s health, safety, or welfare
- willfully or maliciously
- failed to protect the child from harm or threatened harm to the health, safety, or welfare
- of a child under the age of 18.
Child Abuse Reporting
Oklahoma laws require all health care professionals, teachers, and others to report all cases suspected to be of child abuse. The reports should be made to the Department of Human Services. All reporting should be done in good faith, and due care exercised so that the reporter can have immunity from any criminal and civil liability.
If such professionals become aware of child abuse and fail to report it, they can be found guilty of a misdemeanor crime.
Penalties for Child Abuse
Child abuse is a felony crime in Muskogee, Oklahoma. You could end up spending the rest of your life in prison if convicted for this crime. If you are found guilty of child abuse by injury, you could face anywhere from a year in county jail to life imprisonment with the Department of Corrections.
You could also face fines of between $500 and $5,000. Fines and prison time can also be meted out. Other interventions can include removing the child from the person permitting or perpetrating the abuse.
Child sexual abuse is also a felony and is punished harshly under Oklahoma laws. The punishment for indecent and lewd acts is between 3 and 20 years in prison. If the child is under 12 years at the time of the abuse, an abuser could spend up to 25 years in prison.
Repeat convictions of child sexual abuse regardless of the child’s age of the child lead to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1123
A defendant could spend up to 30 years in prison for exposing a child to pornography or using the child for pornography.
If convicted of child sexual battery, you could spend up to 10 years in prison.
Free Consultation: Muskogee Criminal Lawyer
Only experienced criminal lawyers in Muskogee can work to build a strong defense for you. You cannot afford to take chances when you are facing charges as serious as child abuse.
Details matter when piecing together the evidence for your defense. Our Muskogee attorneys will stand up for you against bogus criminal charges or negotiate a better outcome if you did indeed commit a crime.
Our attorneys know how to present in court the details that can make a significant effect on the result of the criminal case. Talk to Muskogee Attorney today.
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