Oklahoma Court: Forced Oral Sex Is Not Rape If Victim Passed Out From Drinking

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

TULSA, Okla. -- Oklahoma has triggered a fiery debate after declaring that oral sex with someone while s/he is unconscious due to alcohol intoxication is not rape.

The unanimous ruling -- which the court says is based on current state law --stems from a 2014 case where a 17-year-old boy was accused of assaulting a 16-year-old girl.

The night it happened, the two had been drinking with friends at a Tulsa park, The Guardian reports, and witnesses say the girl, intoxicated, had to be carried to the boy's car when he offered to give her a ride.

The boy claims the girl consented to performing oral sex, but the girl says she has no memory after leaving the park, according to The Guardian.

The girl was unconscious when she was dropped off at her grandmother's house; she was taken to a local hospital where a blood test showed her alcohol content was above .34, more than four times the legal driving limit.

The girl was also given a sex assault examination; the test confirmed the boy's DNA was around the girl's mouth and on the back of her legs.

Prosecutors initially charged the boy with forcible oral sodomy, but a trial judge dismissed the case.

In the March 24 appeals court ruling, the court affirmed that the law could not be applied to a victim who was incapacitated by alcohol.

The decision reads, in part:

"Forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation."

Oklahoma law does state that rape can occur while a victim is intoxicated or unconscious, but the forcible sodomy law does not use the same language -- since 'incapacitation by alcohol' isn't on the list of circumstances that constitute force, it doesn't apply.

While plenty of people are outraged, legal experts are not faulting the appeals court; they say fault lies in the lack of updating  in Oklahoma's laws.