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February 19, 2013

Rape victim’s mother angry with DA

CLAREMORE — The mother of a 13-year-old rape victim is outraged that District Attorney Janice Steidley plans to offer the suspect a plea bargain against her wishes.

This is the second accusation that the DA is facing from a parent of a minor victim as the father of an 8-year-old brought a similar issue to light last week.
Last week, the DA’s office declined to file charges, but after a public outcry by the victim’s father, Steidley then announced the case would remain open.
This week, the mother of another young victim will get her day in court, but she is not  waiting to voice her concerns about the way the District Attorney has been handling the case.
The victim was 12 at the time of the alleged multiple rapes and was sodomized by the 17-year-old suspect, according to the victim’s mother.
However, the suspect was not charged with sodomy and the District Attorney’s Office is claiming the victim gave consent for the sex acts, she added.
“This young man is a habitual offender and you are allowing him to plea out as a juvenile delinquent, so he may walk free and clear on his 18th birthday in August 2013,” the mother wrote in an email to Steidley, “This is outrageous.”
Assistant District Attorney Sean McConnell disagrees with the victim’s mother, explaining that the Youthful Offender Act and Oklahoma State Statutes are the issue in this case.
“This child is not a repeat sex offender, there is nothing in the evidence that he has any previous sex offenses,” McConnell said.
McConnell would not provide a comment if the juvenile suspect has prior criminal history.
“The suspect was charged based on the totality of the evidence,” McConnell said.
The law offers only a window of opportunity to prosecute offenders in this age group and the suspect could be required to remain in custody until his 19th birthday, McConnell added.

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