Ohio has specific definitions for what constitutes an abused or neglected child, and criminal penalties for abusive or neglectful practices can be severe. Parents in these cases can face a number of serious consequences for these allegations, so it is important for any person accused of one of these crimes to take quick action to try and fight the criminal charges.

Child Abuse / Neglect

The Office of Families and Children encourages people to report child abuse or neglect, and Franklin County Children Services could also get involved in cases to take custody of abused children. It is not uncommon for some reports to be based on exaggerated allegations, and parents struggle to prove their innocence.

Columbus, OH Child Abuse / Neglect Lawyer

If you have been arrested for alleged child abuse or neglect in the greater Columbus area, you cannot afford to wait to seek legal representation. You will want to contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Sabol | Mallory as soon as possible.

Our firm features two award-winning lawyers who boast more than two decades of legal experience. You can have us review your case when you call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Child Abuse / Neglect Charges in Ohio

Ohio Revised Code § 2151.031 defines an abused child as any child who:

● Is the victim of sexual activity where such activity would constitute an offense under that chapter, except that the court need not find that any person has been convicted of the offense in order to find that the child is an abused child;

● Is endangered except that the court need not find that any person has been convicted under that section in order to find that the child is an abused child;

● Exhibits evidence of any physical or mental injury or death, inflicted other than by accidental means, or an injury or death which is at variance with the history given of it.

● Because of the acts of his parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child's health or welfare.

● Is subjected to out-of-home care child abuse.

Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(c) defines sexual activity as being sexual conduct or sexual contact, or both. Sexual conduct is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(a) as meaning vaginal intercourse between a male and female; anal intercourse, fellatio, and cunnilingus between persons regardless of sex; and, without privilege to do so, the insertion, however slight, of any part of the body or any instrument, apparatus, or other object into the vaginal or anal opening of another. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal or anal intercourse. Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(b) defines sexual contact as being any touching of an erogenous zone of another, including without limitation the thigh, genitals, buttock, pubic region, or, if the person is a female, a breast, for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person.

When it comes to an endangered child, Ohio Revised Code § 2919.22 states that no person, who is the parent, guardian, custodian, person having custody or control, or person in loco parentis of a child under 18 years of age or a mentally or physically handicapped child under 21 years of age, can create a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child, by violating a duty of care, protection, or support. No person can do any of the following to a child under 18 years of age or a mentally or physically handicapped child under 21 years of age:

● Abuse the child;

● Torture or cruelly abuse the child;

● Administer corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measure, or physically restrain the child in a cruel manner or for a prolonged period, which punishment, discipline, or restraint is excessive under the circumstances and creates a substantial risk of serious physical harm to the child;

● Repeatedly administer unwarranted disciplinary measures to the child, when there is a substantial risk that such conduct, if continued, will seriously impair or retard the child's mental health or development;

● Entice, coerce, permit, encourage, compel, hire, employ, use, or allow the child to act, model, or in any other way participate in, or be photographed for, the production, presentation, dissemination, or advertisement of any material or performance that the offender knows or reasonably should know is obscene, is sexually oriented matter, or is nudity-oriented matter;

● Allow the child to be on the same parcel of real property and within one hundred feet of, or, in the case of more than one housing unit on the same parcel of real property, in the same housing unit and within one hundred feet of, any act in violation of Ohio Revised Code § 2925.04 or Ohio Revised Code § 2925.041 when the person knows that the act is occurring, whether or not any person is prosecuted for or convicted of the violation of Ohio Revised Code § 2925.04 or Ohio Revised Code § 2925.041 that is the basis of the violation of this division.

Ohio Revised Code § 2151.03 defines a neglected child as any child:

● Who is abandoned by the child's parents, guardian, or custodian;

● Who lacks adequate parental care because of the faults or habits of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian;

● Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical or surgical care or treatment, or other care necessary for the child's health, morals, or well being;

● Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide the special care made necessary by the child's mental condition;

● Whose parents, legal guardian, or custodian have placed or attempted to place the child in violation of Ohio Revised Code § 5103.16 and Ohio Revised Code § 5103.17;

● Who, because of the omission of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child's health or welfare;

● Who is subjected to out-of-home care child neglect.

Ohio Revised Code § 2919.22 is the state law relating to endangering children. The statute provides that no person, who is the parent, guardian, custodian, person having custody or control, or person in loco parentis of a child under 18 years of age or a mentally or physically handicapped child under 21 years of age, shall create a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child, by violating a duty of care, protection, or support, although it is not a violation of a duty of care, protection, or support under this division when the parent, guardian, custodian, or person having custody or control of a child treats the physical or mental illness or defect of the child by spiritual means through prayer alone, in accordance with the tenets of a recognized religious body. A person cannot do any of the following to a child under 18 years of age or a mentally or physically handicapped child under 21 years of age:

● Abuse the child;

● Torture or cruelly abuse the child;

● Administer corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measure, or physically restrain the child in a cruel manner or for a prolonged period, which punishment, discipline, or restraint is excessive under the circumstances and creates a substantial risk of serious physical harm to the child;

● Repeatedly administer unwarranted disciplinary measures to the child, when there is a substantial risk that such conduct, if continued, will seriously impair or retard the child's mental health or development;

● Entice, coerce, permit, encourage, compel, hire, employ, use, or allow the child to act, model, or in any other way participate in, or be photographed for, the production, presentation, dissemination, or advertisement of any material or performance that the offender knows or reasonably should know is obscene, is sexually oriented matter, or is nudity-oriented matter;

● Allow the child to be on the same parcel of real property and within one hundred feet of, or, in the case of more than one housing unit on the same parcel of real property, in the same housing unit and within one hundred feet of, any act in violation of Ohio Revised Code § 2925.04 or Ohio Revised Code § 2925.041 when the person knows that the act is occurring, whether or not any person is prosecuted for or convicted of the violation either section that is the basis of the violation of this division.

Criminal charges in these cases can vary widely depending on numerous factors, including the degree of physical harm caused, the offense involving drugs such as methamphetamine, and previous convictions. While some charges may be first-degree misdemeanors, many cases result in felony charges.

Child Abuse / Neglect Penalties in Columbus

When a child abuse charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, an alleged offender could be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. When child abuse or neglect charges are charged as felonies, the degree of felony will depend on the specific nature of the criminal charges.

In general, felony offenses are punishable as follows in child abuse or neglect cases:

Fifth-Degree Felony — Up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500

Fourth-Degree Felony — Up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000

Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000

Second-Degree Felony — Up to eight years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000

The Office of Families and Children or Franklin County Children Services may also move in to take custody of abused children, possibly through an ex parte hearing, which is a hearing in which a judge will only require one side of a dispute to be present.

Ohio Child Abuse / Neglect Resources

Child Abuse Prevention - State of Ohio Emergency Medical Services (EMS) — Visit this website to learn more about child abuse prevention. You can find links to the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) Training Campus, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, Partners in Prevention, and ChildHelp. Resource documents also include Child Maltreatment 2016: Summary of Key Findings – Excerpts from Child Maltreatment 2016, the 2019 Prevention Resource Guide, Tip Sheets for Parents and Caregivers, and Tip Sheets for Parents and Caregivers: Spanish Version.

Resources - The Center for Family Safety and Healing — In 2011, the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children's (founded in 2002) and the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence (founded in 1998) merged into one organization, becoming The Center for Family Safety and Healing. On this website, you can find parent and caregiver tip sheets. There are also information and resources about child abuse and neglect, including links to the National Child Abuse Hotline, National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network, Public Children Services Association of Ohio, and the Center for Family Safety and Healing Child Assessment Center.

Sabol | Mallory | Columbus Child Abuse / Neglect Attorney

Have you been arrested for alleged child abuse or neglect in Columbus or a surrounding area of Ohio? Do not wait to get Sabol | Mallory on your side for an aggressive legal defense against these charges.

Our firm will fight to protect your freedom and help you retain custody of your children during these stressful times. Call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online right now to take advantage of a free consultation so we can see how we can help.

National Board of Trial Advocacy
Faculty DUI Defense
Avvo
Best Law Firms
Super Lawyers
The Best Lawyers in America
ACS-CHAL
Best Lawyer of the year 2018

Copyright 2019 - 2020 Sabol & Mallory Law Firm. All Rights Reserved.