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Tougher Oklahoma Child Abuse Law Plays Role in Arrests at Victory Christian Center

Although experts say it’s rare for staff members of a school, church or business to be charged with failure to report child abuse, a tougher Oklahoma law enacted in 2009 could make it much more common. In 2009, Oklahoma broadened its laws regarding the mandatory reporting of child abuse so that instead of requiring only …

Although experts say it’s rare for staff members of a school, church or business to be charged with failure to report child abuse, a tougher Oklahoma law enacted in 2009 could make it much more common. In 2009, Oklahoma broadened its laws regarding the mandatory reporting of child abuse so that instead of requiring only doctors, teachers and other professionals to report child abuse in a timely manner, the law now puts this responsibility on all adults. In an effort to reduce the incidence of child abuse in Oklahoma, the state has established stiff penalties for failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect, often in the form of a fine or imprisonment. If you are facing charges for child abuse or failure to report child abuse in Oklahoma, contact our qualified criminal defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center today. Our lawyers have extensive experience protecting the rights of those charged with criminal offenses in Oklahoma, and we can help you build a strong defense in your case.

Oklahoma Penalties for Failure to Report Child Abuse

Approximately 47 U.S. states impose penalties on those who knowingly or willfully fail to file a report when they suspect that a child is being abuse or neglected. Failure to report child abuse in Oklahoma is investigated and charged as a misdemeanor offense, and, upon conviction, offenders in some states may face penalties as severe as 10 days to five years in jail or fines ranging from $100 to $5,000. In some states, in addition to criminal charges, the individual who fails to report child abuse may be civilly liable for any damages caused by the failure to report. According to court documents, it took officials at Victory Christian Center in Oklahoma two weeks to notify authorities and the mother of the children that two young girls had reportedly been assaulted by an employee. As a result, five staff members have been charged with failure to report child abuse, including the church’s human resources director and the son of the church’s founder.

Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help

In response to the failure to report child abuse charges, Tulsa Police Department officer Jillian Robertson says, “That’s where this law comes into play. You must report as soon as you find out.” Robertson says that the 2009 Oklahoma law is clear – when any adult suspects the abuse of a child, there is no time to launch an internal investigation; law enforcement must be notified immediately. According to a statement released by VCC, two officials with the church have been fired and the five employees charged with failed to report child abuse have been suspended from their positions. If you have been charged with failure to report child abuse in Oklahoma, the penalties you could face are severe. Contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center today to protect your legal rights and discuss your possible defense options.

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