Senator Frank Shurden said Governor Frank Keating's veto of a bill to allow castration of convicted rapists would cost Oklahoma taxpayers millions of dollars. That's because the governor said he'd rather see the sex offenders kept in prison for life even after he'd told Senator Shurden if the bill got to his desk, he would sign it.
"Three years ago Governor Keating told me to my face and in the presence of others, including former Oklahoma County D.A. Bob Macy, that if I ever got this bill through the full legislature he would sign it. But when we succeeded in gaining bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for this measure, he showed he was not a man of his word," said Senator Shurden.
Senate Bill 987 would have authorized chemical castration for a conviction of first-degree rape, second-degree rape, or forcible sodomy. Subsequent offenses could have allowed judges or juries to impose surgical castration.
Governor Keating favored a measure calling for rapists convicted a second time to serve life in prison without parole. However Senator Shurden said his bill would have had the potential to stop sexual predators after their first conviction.
According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, in the year 2000, there were 1,422 reported rapes in Oklahoma. However, experts in the field of law enforcement say only a fraction of rapes are actually reported, so the number of women and children who were victims in this state could actually be as much as 10 times higher.
"I'm sure the rapists and pedophiles are very happy with Governor Keating today, but it's the taxpayers who are going to foot the bill for this for years to come. Worst of all, I believe it will mean thousands of women and children will be victimized when we could have done something to stop these predators after a first offense," said Shurden.