Two child abuse bills pass OK House; State Representative speaks - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Two child abuse bills pass OK House; State Representative speaks about personal abuse experience

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KWTV)- Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, shared his story as a victim of child abuse for the first time in an effort to help pass two bills that would give victims more time to come forward. Those bills to protect victims of crimes passed unanimously in the House today.

Before now, McDugle could count on one hand the number of people he told about his experience with his youth minister.

“Finally, one night, I got an invitation to go to his house and stay the night, like a lot of kids that always talked about going,” McDugle said. “He put me in his bed and put on some movies that we shouldn’t have watched and proceeded to think that he could touch me wherever he wanted to touch me and wanted me to touch him places.”

Up until he was elected into the Legislature last year, McDugle did not mention what happened.

“That one night, for me, took me 35 years to get to a point that I could actually openly talk about it,” he said. “I’m a Marine Corps veteran, a drill instructor, so it’s not a story that I wanted to tell.”

According to KWTV, Oklahomans have to report child abuse by the time they reach 31 years old if they want to press criminal charges, and they only have two years after the abuse to seek damages from their abuser. House Bill 1468 and House Bill 1470 change both those limits to the age of 45. The legislation also makes it a felony for anyone who falsely reports child abuse.

“Whether it’s a teacher taking advantage of a kid, a representative taking advantage of a kid, we have to do all we can to stand for that kid because I promise you that kid won’t be able to stand for themselves,” McDugle said.

House Bill 1468 creates the Hidden Predator Act which provides that the prosecution of rape, forcible sodomy and other related sex crimes must be commenced by the 45th birthday of the alleged victim. It also removes the requirement that the victim notify law enforcement within 12 years after the discovery of the crime. Any person who knowingly and willfully makes a false claim the person knows lacks factual foundation may be reported to local law enforcement for criminal investigation and, upon conviction, shall be guilty of a felony.

House Bill 1470 extends the statutes of limitation for alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse or exploitation by allowing them to sue for civil damages until their 45th birthday. The legislation also removes the requirement that evidence of the alleged abuse include both proof that the victim had psychologically repressed the memory of the facts upon which the claim was predicated and that there is corroborating evidence that the sexual abuse, exploitation or incest actually occurred.

Both bills will now head to the senate for consideration.

Information provided by KWTV. 

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