OKLAHOMA CITY - The State Senate has approved a measure that would create a statewide registry for teen sex offenders. Senator Ted Fisher is the principal author of Senate Bill 157. He said the legislation was in response to a homicide and assault that occurred in his district.
"Last year in Oilton, a 7-year-old girl was murdered and her 12-year-old friend was raped. A local 19-year-old was charged for these crimes. At the time no one had any way of knowing that Robert Wayne Rotramel had an extensive juvenile record, including allegations of sex crimes. There was no legal way to get those records opened up. That will change under SB 157," said Senator Fisher, D-Sapulpa.
SB 157 would require juvenile sex offenders ages 14-18 who have been adjudicated as youthful offenders or juvenile delinquents for first or second-degree rape or forcible sodomy to register annually with the state. Information about those offenders, including photos and fingerprints would be available to law enforcement on request and to the general public if ordered by a judge.
"In addition, if a hearing determines that individual is still a threat to the public after reaching age 21, they could then be transferred to the adult sex offender registry," explained Senator Fisher.
"Traditionally, the system has been very protective about the identify and crimes of juvenile law offenders because of the belief that they could still be rehabilitated, and shouldn't have that record following them after they are adults. But the fact is a teen who would rape a child has serious problems that are far different from a teen who commits a property crime. We need to recognize that fact, and take steps to help protect the public. That's the idea behind this bill," said Senator Fisher.
SB 157 now moves to the House of Representatives for final approval.