Senator Jonathan Nichols
Senate District 15
Release: July 26, 2005
Sen. Jonathan Nichols
Nichols to Author Bill Creating Child Abuse Response Team
Nichols today outlined details of a proposed statewide child
abuse task force at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
The OSBI’s Child Abuse Response Team (OSBI CART) was proposed
this week as part of the Senate Republicans plan for funding public
“The OSBI CART would be made up of OSBI agents who are highly
trained in investigating child abuse cases, forensic interviewing
of children and case development for the prosecution,” said
Nichols, R-Norman, a former prosecutor.
The task force would be outfitted by recruiting the top experts
in the state on child abuse. Nichols based much of his proposal
on his experience as an assistant district attorney when he prosecuted
child abuse cases before being elected to the state Senate.
Nichols believes that such a task force would not only greatly
assist in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases
but would also provide an invaluable educational resource for law
enforcement agencies who want to increase their own training in
"There are many communities in Oklahoma that simply don't
have the resources to maintain a highly trained child abuse task
force," said Senator Nichols. "Having such a task force
at the OSBI would allow a smaller police force to pick up a phone,
dial the OSBI, and within the amount of time it takes them to drive
to the community, have a highly trained task force working the case."
According to Nichols, the task force would include a forensic interviewer
who is extensively experienced and trained in the art of interviewing
children of child abuse.
“The initial interview of a child is critical to any successful
prosecution of these types of cases,” said Nichols. “Wrongly
phrased questions by an untrained investigator can literally jeopardize
what would have otherwise been a locked tight case against a predator.”
The task force would also have a case manager who is highly trained
and experienced in child abuse investigations. This investigator
would manage the progression of the case and act as liaison with
other governmental agencies that assist in these cases, such as
Department of Human Services, Mental Health, Child Abuse Centers
(CAC), as well as the District Attorney’s Office.
“Child abuse cases can become very complex, very quickly,
involving several agencies and multiple investigators,” said
Nichols. “A case manager would coordinate the efforts of all
persons involved and make sure that the investigation stays focused
and well preserved for the prosecution.”
Senator Nichols also identified the need for an expert at interviewing
suspects in child abuse cases. He stressed the need to have a person
who has honed their skills in interviewing child predators through
extensive experience and training.
“One of the most important parts of a child abuse investigation
is the interview of the perpetrator,” said Nichols. “This
role would be filled by a person that was not only well trained
and educated in child abuse cases, but also extensively experienced
with hundreds of cases under his belt.”
The fourth member of the task force would be a person who could
provide expert testimony on child abuse during trial, including
different syndromes associated with child abuse as well has methods
of operation employed by predators.
“This investigator who would act as an expert witness for
the prosecution would also be responsible for coordinating continuing
education and seminars,” said Nichols. “This task force
when not working cases would be providing educational and training
resources for our law enforcement agencies around the state.”
Nichols said that CART would not duplicate the efforts of multi-disciplinary
child abuse teams in local areas, but would afford these teams an
immense resource of expertise, training and continuing education
in the latest tactics in investigating child abuse cases.
Nichols said that he was already working with senate staff to file
“Public safety is a top priority of Senate Republicans and
creating the OSBI CART will be a top priority of ours during the
next legislative session,” said Senator Nichols.
Nichols said Rep. Fred Morgan, R-OKC, has agreed to co-author the
State Capitol: (405) 521-5535