The crime commonly known as statutory rape can be a misleading criminal charge because rape is a criminal offense that usually involves an alleged victim being forced against their will to submit to the sexual acts of an alleged offender. Statutory rape crimes are more commonly known as unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and people can face criminal charges for engaging in sexual activity with people who are less than the age of consent.
In Ohio, the age of consent is only 16 years of age. Sexual activity with a person less than 13 years of age will typically lead to an actual rape charge.
If you were arrested for an alleged unlawful sexual conduct with a minor offense in Columbus, Westerville, Dublin, or another community in Franklin County, Ohio, it will be enormously important for you to quickly retain legal counsel. Sabol | Mallory can aggressively defend you against your criminal charges.
Our firm knows how much stress these kinds of charges can create for people and we will work with you to help you overcome any and all obstacles you may face because of your arrest. You can have us review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor Charges in Ohio
Under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04(A), no person who is 18 years of age or older can engage in sexual conduct with another, who is not the spouse of the offender, when the offender knows the other person is 13 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age, or the offender is reckless in that regard. Whoever violates this statute is guilty of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is generally a fourth-degree felony, but when an alleged offender is less than four years older than the other person, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a first-degree misdemeanor. When an alleged offender is 10 or more years older than the other person, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a third-degree felony, and an alleged offender who has been previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02 (rape), Ohio Revised Code § 2907.03 (sexual battery), or Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 (unlawful sexual conduct with a minor) or a violation of former Ohio Revised Code § 2907.12 (felonious sexual penetration) is a second-degree felony.
Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02 is the state rape law which states that no person can engage in sexual conduct with another who is not the spouse of the offender or who is the spouse of the offender but is living separate and apart from the offender, when the other person is less than 13 years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of the other person. This crime is a first-degree felony.
It is important to understand how the Ohio Revised Code defines certain terms relating to sexual conduct. Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(A) establishes that sexual conduct is defined as “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.”
Sexual contact is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(B) as “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.” The phrase sexual activity is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(C) as meaning sexual conduct or sexual contact, or both.
Criminal convictions in Ohio are generally punishable as follows, and an unlawful sexual conduct with a minor offense will depend on how an alleged crime has been classified:
● First-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000
● 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
● First-Degree Felony — Up to 11 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000
One of the major drawbacks of a sex crime conviction could be the possible requirement to register as a sex offender. Ohio is a state in which sex offender registration is offense-based rather than risk-based, meaning that even low-level offenders will still be required to register.
Individuals convicted of qualifying sex crimes can be required to provide their local sheriff’s office with personal information to be made publically accessible through the eSORN database, including information regarding their:
● Home address
● Work address
● Identifying characteristics
● Criminal history
● Photo / fingerprints
● Vehicle information
Additional supplemental information could also be required from registrants, including phone numbers, email accounts, and online screen names / handles. This information is not made public.
People who are deemed registered Tier 3 offenders or Sexual Predators could also face multiple community-notification requirements. These may include:
● Neighbor Notification — After offenders are newly registered, their information is dispersed via Sheriff’s notices to all residential neighbors within 1,000 feet of the offender’s residence.
● Neighbor Notification (Multi-Unit Building) — When an offender lives in a multi-unit building (such as an apartment or condominium complex), notices will be made to the building manager and occupants of units which share common hallway with the offender (or anyone on the same floor if an entrance door opens into a shared space), within 1,000 feet of the offender’s residence.
● Community Notification — Notices may also be sent to additional parties in an offender’s jurisdiction, including officials from public children services agencies, school districts, schools and child / day-care centers, and colleges / higher education institutions.
● Change of Residence — Registered offenders must report changes of residence or employment, as well as notices of intent to reside in new geographical areas.
Under federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a Tier 1 criminal offense. Tier 1 offenders are required to register annually for 15 years.
Sex Crimes: Definitions and Penalties Ohio - RAINN — RAINN is the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, and this is a helpful document that outlines the definitions, punishments, and information you should know about sex offenses in Ohio. In addition to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, you can learn more about rape, sexual battery, and gross sexual imposition. There is also information on importuning.
State v. Williams, 129 Ohio St. 3d 344 - Ohio: Supreme Court 2011 — George Williams, was indicted for unlawful sexual contact with a minor, and pleaded guilty in open court. He subsequently moved to be sentenced under the version of Chapter 2950 of the Ohio Revised Code in effect at the time that he committed the offense, arguing that major changes to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2950 took effect on January 1, 2008, and that "[t]he sentencing law and reporting law that should apply to the Defendant is the law that was in effect at the time of the criminal conduct and at the time of the plea." The state opposed the motion, arguing that Williams could not point to any basis for his motion or any justification for the trial court to ignore the law, because none existed, and the trial court denied the motion. The Supreme Court of Ohio concluded that the General Assembly has the authority, indeed the obligation, to protect the public from sex offenders, but cannot, however, consistent with the Ohio Constitution, "impose new or additional burdens, duties, obligations, or liabilities as to a past transaction." It reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded the cause for resentencing under the law in effect at the time Williams committed the offense.
Were you arrested for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in Columbus or a nearby area of Franklin County? It will be incredibly important for you to find yourself legal representation as soon as possible.
Sabol | Mallory will be able to conduct an independent investigation into your criminal charges and will determine the strongest possible defense in a court of law. Call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to have our firm go over everything relating to your case during a free consultation.