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A US court actually just ruled that forced oral sex is not rape if the victim is passed out drunk

Joseph McCormick April 29, 2016
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A court in the US has just caused massive controversy by declaring that forced oral sex with a victim who is unconscious is not classed as rape.

The Oklahoma criminal appeals court’s decision has been criticised, and some say it shows that there is a lack of protection for victims of rape and sexual abuse.

The unanimous decision was made earlier this week by the state court, in the case under which a 17-year-old male was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.

Another male who had been in a car with the accused and the 16-year-old said the female had been unconscious at points, and later she awoke in hosital undergoing a sexual assault examination.

The man’s DNA was found on the woman’s leg and around her mouth, and he said she had consented to performing oral sex.

The 16-year-old said she had no memories of leaving a park with the man, who was later charged with forcible oral sodomy.

However the case was later dismissed by the trial judge and last month the appeals court said the charge given to the man was not permissible as the victim was unconscious under the influence of alcohol.

“Forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation,” read the decision.

“We will not, in order to justify prosecution of a person for an offense, enlarge a statute beyond the fair meaning of its language,” the decision went on.

The Tulsa County district attorney who led the case, said he was “completely gobsmacked” by the court’s decision to dismiss the case.

He said: “The plain meaning of forcible oral sodomy, of using force, includes taking advantage of a victim who was too intoxicated to consent.”

Adding: “I don’t believe that anybody, until that day, believed that the state of the law was that this kind of conduct was ambiguous, much less legal. And I don’t think the law was a loophole until the court decided it was.”

A number of legal experts have said the ruling points to a desperate need to update laws in the state of Oklahoma.

While the state does have a rape law which protects victims who are intoxicated and cannot consent to vaginal or anal intercourse, oral sexual assault is not covered.

The ruling has not been made a precedent by the court, but Fu has said he hopes for politicians to legislate for changes to the law.

The attorney for the defendant, Shannon McMurray, told Oklahoma Watch that prosecutors were wrong to charge her client with forcible sodomy, saying: “There was absolutely no evidence of force or him doing anything to make this girl give him oral sex… other than she was too intoxicated to consent.”

Related topics: oral, rape, US

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