Some Fear Governor Won't Sign Bill That Cracks Down On Rapists

Wednesday, April 26th 2017, 8:05 pm
By: News On 6

A bill is sitting on the Governor's desk right now that would get tougher on rapists.

But, some prosecutors and victims fear the governor won't sign it because there is a big push right now to keep people out of prison, not put them in even longer.

The state says we've got to stop sending so many people to prison because it's expensive and it's just not working, and they need to be sentenced in other ways. 

But, prosecutors and victims say some people need to go to prison, like rapists.

Prosecutors say whether it's rape by a person or rape by instrumentation, it's a terrible, traumatic ordeal for victims and both crimes should be treated the same, but that is not the case in Oklahoma right now.

The only way for rape by instrumentation to be considered first-degree is if the victim is injured. 

First-degree increases the punishment from 2-15 years to five years to life and requires the rapist to serve at least 85 percent of the time before getting paroled.

Prosecutors like the new bill because it removes the need for an injury.

"If you're gonna use a knife handle, beer bottle, lit cigarette, vodka bottle, whatever it is, it doesn't matter," said Kenneth Elmore, Assistant Tulsa County district attorney. "Rape is rape and requiring there be an injury is barbaric."

They say "regular" rape doesn't require an injury so rape by instrumentation should not either. He understands the need to keep some people out of prison but doesn't think it applies here.

"So there's a big push, big movement for certain drug crimes or property crimes to lower the ranges of punishment but this is different," he said. 

Elmore said. the people who need to go to prison and stay there are rapists, robbers and murderers.

Those who think the crime should be first-degree and the victim shouldn't have to be injured in the process can call the governor's office or a state legislator.