Survivors of sexual assault and child sexual abuse often desire justice, but may not know how to find it. As a survivor, you may be struggling with troubling questions like:
- How long will the perpetrator be put behind bars?
- What can we do if there's no conviction?
- Can others be held liable for enabling our child's abuse?
Our Ohio sexual abuse victims' lawyers have made justice for survivors our life's mission.
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If you or someone you care about recently became the victim of sexual violence, you may wonder how the offender might be punished by your state’s legal system. We’ve summarized the Ohio sexual assault laws and statutes below to give victims a better idea of how the criminal justice system handles these crimes.
Criminal Laws On Sexual Misconduct In Ohio
Remember that both civil and criminal courts are available to help victims of sexual crimes. Criminal courts prosecute dangerous sexual predators and take them off the streets, while civil courts provide financial support for victims.
Our Ohio sexual assault victims’ lawyers help survivors acquire financial support and justice through the civil courts. If you feel that the criminal justice system has failed to provide the support you need or has failed to prosecute your offender, we can help you file a civil sexual abuse lawsuit.
These lawsuits also allow you to take legal action against negligent third parties who enabled the sexual abuse, such as:
- Youth sports organizations
- Schools and daycares
- Summer camps
- Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
- Churches and religious organizations
- Business owners who failed to screen new hires for criminal histories
From Cleveland and Akron to Columbus and Cincinnati, our dedicated legal team is here to help Ohio survivors step forward and pursue justice with confidence. Find more on how we can help in a free, confidential legal consultation today.
Rape In The First Degree
In Ohio, a person is guilty of rape in the first degree if he or she engages in sexual conduct (vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse) with another person under any of the following circumstances:
- The offender administers a drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to the victim, by force, the threat of force, or deception in order to impair their judgment.
- The other person is younger than 13 years old
- The victim is unable to consent because of a mental or physical condition or advanced age and the offender is aware that the other person’s ability to consent is impaired
- Any sexual conduct which occurs through force or the threat of force
The sentence for rape in the first degree varies based on the specifics of the crime. If the victim is compelled to submit through force, threats, or controlled substances, the minimum sentence is 5 years in prison. If the victim is under 10 years old – life in prison. If the offender has a previous conviction, the sentence will be life in prison.
Someone can be convicted of sexual battery if he or she engages in sexual conduct with another person (other than their spouse) when any of the following criteria apply:
- The offender coerces the other person to submit by any means that would prevent resistance
- When the offender knows that the victim’s ability to understand the nature of the act is impaired
- When the offender knows the victim submits because the victim is unaware that the act is being committed
- When the victim submits because he or she mistakenly thinks the offender is their spouse
- When the offender is the victim’s natural or adoptive parent or guardian
- The victim is in custody of law enforcement or a patient in a hospital or other institution, and the offender has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim
- The offender is a teacher, administrator, coach, or other authority figure employed by a school and the victim is enrolled at that school
- The victim is a minor and the offender is the victim’s coach, instructor, or the leader of a scouting troop
- The offender is a mental health professional and the victim is one of their clients or patients
- The victim is confined to a detention facility and the offender is an employee of that detention facility
- The victim is a minor and the offender is a religious clergy member
- The victim is a minor and the offender is a peace officer at least two years older than the victim
In most cases, sexual battery is a third-degree felony punishable by 1-5 years in prison. If the victim is younger than 13, the charge will be in the second degree and punishable by 2-8 years in prison
Unlawful Sexual Conduct With A Minor
Anyone 18 years of age or older who engages in sexual conduct with another person between 13-15 years old is guilty of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. This crime can be charged in one of four degrees:
- Fourth-degree felony – Unlawful sexual conduct as described above, punishable by 6-18 months in prison.
- Third-degree felony – When the offender knows the victim is 13-15 years old (or is reckless in determining the victim’s age) and the offender is at least ten years older than the victim. Punishable by 1-5 years in prison
- Second-degree felony – When the offender has a previous conviction for rape, sexual battery, or unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Punishable by 2-8 years in prison.
- First-degree misdemeanor – When the offender is less than four years older than the victim. Punishable by up to 6 months in prison.
Sexual imposition is a crime which involves unwanted sexual contact, rather than sexual intercourse. a person is guilty of sexual imposition if he or she has sexual contact with another person or causes two or more other people to have sexual contact under any of the following circumstances:
- The offender knows the sexual contact is offensive to the victim or is reckless in determining consent
- The offender knows that the victim’s ability to understand the nature of the act or control the offender’s conduct is significantly impaired
- The offender knows that the victim submits because he or she is unaware of the sexual contact
- The victim is 13-15 years old and the offender is at least 18 years old and four or more years older than the victim
- The offender is a mental health professional, the victim is one of their patients or clients, and the offender causes the victim to submit by falsely claiming that the sexual contact is necessary for mental health treatment.
For first-time offenders, sexual imposition is punishable by up to 60 days in prison. If the defendant has a previous conviction for rape, sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, or gross sexual imposition, the sentence will be a maximum of 6 months in prison.
Gross Sexual Imposition
A person is guilty of the more serious charge of gross sexual imposition if he or she has sexual contact with another person, causes that person to have sexual contact with an offender, or causes two or more people to have sexual contact when any of the following applies:
- The offender compels the victim to submit by force or the threat of force
- The offender impairs the judgment of the victim by administering a drug or intoxicant without their consent
- The offender knows the victim’s ability to consent is impaired because they’re under the influence of a drug administered during a medical or dental examination, treatment or surgery
- The victim is younger than 13 years old
- The victim’s ability to consent is impaired because of a mental or physical health condition or advanced age, and the offender is aware of this impairment
- Any sexual touching of another person’s genitals when the victim is younger than 12 and the offender intends to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desires of any person
- The offender has or causes someone else to have sexual contact with a victim who is under 13 years old
- The offender has or causes someone else to have sexual contact with a victim who’s judgment or control has been impaired because of a controlled substance administered without their consent
In the first five examples, the charge will be a fourth-degree felony punishable by 6-18 months in prison. If any of the final three bulletpoints apply, the charge will be a third-degree felony punishable by 1-5 years in prison.