Bills to help sexual assault victims

Gov. Mary Fallin signed two bills  that aim to protect victims of sexual assault crimes.

House Bill 1005 elevates the crime of rape by instrumentation to rape in the first degree. State law currently views rape by instrumentation as rape in the second degree.

House Bill 1127 requires that a court must instruct the jury on the definition of “consent” in any criminal jury trial that involves “sexual assault.” Although juries are currently requires to follow the legal definition of “consent,” the understanding of the definition can change from jury member to jury member.

Both measures were authored by Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha. Rep. Biggs, a former prosector, said, “For the majority of Oklahomans, these laws will mean and do very little, but for the men and women who have been affected by sexual assault or have been preyed upon by sexual predators, these pieces of legislation are life changing. They are the difference between having to see your assailant walk free and getting the justice that both you and your assailant deserve.”