Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater confronted rape survivor Danielle Tudor after a task force meeting on Thursday afternoon. KASSIE MCCLUNG/The Frontier

Frustrations boiled over when Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater confronted and got into a heated exchange with a rape survivor after a meeting of the task force heading the effort to reform how Oklahoma handles rape kits.

The confrontation stemmed from Prater’s grievances with a critical press release Danielle Tudor sent out earlier this month, wherein she faulted attorney general Mike Hunter’s role in the task force, saying he failed to support its mission.

“You have the right to do anything you want to, and I have the right to tell you that you lied to the public when you released that press release,” Prater told Tudor.

Tudor replied, “You have been very, very, very rude in your manner and how you’ve addressed it.”

The exchange, which was captured by several members of the media, followed a two-hour task force meeting in Edmond on Thursday afternoon.

Tudor has said the task force lacked leadership and Hunter should have championed the initiative on reforming how the state handles untested rape kits.

As primary elections approach, the initiative has started to become political.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order on April 24, 2017, creating a 17-member task force to determine the number of untested rape kits in more than 350 law enforcement agencies across the state. However, as of May 31, almost 120 agencies have not complied with the order.

Much of Tudor’s complaints came from what she considered to be a lack of enforcement and guidance to push agencies to respond to the audit. In her June 1 press release, she stated Hunter should have stepped up.

Attorney general challenger Gentner Drummond, who was in attendance for most of Thursday’s meeting, has also been critical of Hunter’s role in the task force.

Gentner Drummond. Facebook

In response to Tudor’s press release, Hunter said his office is supportive of the task force’s efforts, but that Tudor is confused about his role.

“The governor’s task force has no subpoena power, no investigative authority and no ability to withhold federal funds from law enforcement agencies,” Hunter said in an emailed statement earlier this month.

“Further, the attorney general’s office does not and never has had the authority to enforce executive orders from the governor’s office.”

Prater confronted Tudor just before a joint-media address she held with Drummond. He accused her of lying in the press release for “political reasons.”

“Why did you make it a political issue,” Prater asked Tudor.

He added: “That was wrong, and it was a lie. That’s all I have to say to you.”

Tudor said she wasn’t making it a political issue, but had no choice but to send out the press release because the attorney general would not respond to requests to meet with her.

“The only avenue I have for people to even know what’s going on is the media,” she said. “That’s the only thing I have to be able to get that word out there.”

Tudor told Prater she had also tried to meet with him, but never received a response. Prater said he was unaware and offered Tudor his cellphone number at the end of the exchange.

Tudor said she felt as if the attorney general’s office was trying to silence her when she received an email in April from Melissa Blanton, chief of the victims’ services unit at the attorney general’s office and chair of the task force, telling her to stop talking to media and law enforcement.

His (Hunter’s) office attempted to bully and shame me into silence as if I had done something wrong,” Tudor said in her press release. “How many rape survivors have felt those same stinging words and assumptions?”

Blanton told The Frontier earlier this month she “in no way” intended to silence Tudor. However, she would like the task force to represent itself as a whole and as one voice.

Tudor started her rape survivor advocacy in Oregon, where she helped strengthen victims’ rights to speak for more than three minutes when their attackers came up for parole. She also advocated and helped the state with rape kit reform.

She called the encounter with Prater “the most awful experience” she’s had as an advocate.

Drummond addressed reporters after the exchange and said it was “clearly a passionate issue.”

“Obviously there’s differences of opinions,” Drummond said. “I think what is missing though is leadership, and when I’m the attorney general, I will provide leadership. I will ensure there’s funding, and we’ll have a voice for these 400,000 women that are rape survivors.”

The attorney general’s race has been contentious. Drummond and Hunter butted heads this week when Drummond questioned the contract between the state and outside counsel in a lawsuit against opioid manufacturing companies, calling it “shameful.”

Drummond and Hunter began running negative campaign ads against each other last month.

Fallin appointed Hunter as attorney general last year when Scott Pruitt left to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

The primary election is June 26. Angela Bonilla is the other Republican candidate for attorney general.

The task force is heading into its final stages to finalize recommendations on rape kit reform, which includes when and what rape kits should be tested. The report of the group’s findings must be presented to the governor, president pro tempore of the Senate and speaker of the House by July 1.

The group, which has counted almost 7,300 untested kits in more than 300 agencies, is set to hold a special meeting to finalize its recommendations on June 25.