Child Molestation Charges in Toledo
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When it comes to sexual conduct, children (those aged 17 and younger) are given special protections by the law. While it’s not legal to molest or sexually contact someone against their will in any situation, doing so to children carries immense penalties if convicted. The crime of “child molestation” and sexual abuse is defined under Ohio Revised Statutes §§ 2151.031, 2907.01, and 2919.22, which make a number of different actions against minors illegal, and those guilty of perpetrating it subject to potentially life-changing consequences.
Because child molestation charges can be so immense, it’s important that you seek the assistance of an experienced and qualified Toledo sex crimes attorney. Having the Law Office of Lorin Zaner on your side can help you navigate through your complex and emotionally-charged case with confidence. As your attorney, Lorin Zaner will work hard to put the evidence in your case on your side, helping you effectively combat your accusations and work to clear your name and regain your reputation. Attorney Zaner understands that sex crimes are extremely serious, and she handles every case with the utmost professionalism that you expect from a top-rated legal advocate.
Don’t face your charges alone! Call the Law Office of Lorin Zaner today by dialing (419) 741-4050 and ask to receive a free case evaluation!
Ohio Child Molestation Laws
Under Ohio law, molestation can occur in several different ways, and as a result there are several different sex crimes that have been defined in our legal codes. If you have been arrested and charged with a sex crime and the victim was a minor (age 17 or younger) you should not hesitate to speak with an attorney to learn more about what to expect and start building a case to fight back. Lack of awareness of age is not a legally-accepted defense, so it’s important that you begin working with an attorney as soon as possible.
- Sexual molestation laws in Ohio define the following four crimes:
- Gross sexual imposition: This refers to any form of sexual contact with an individual who cannot give coherent, legal consent, such as someone who is intoxicated or mentally incapacitated in some way. Legally, minors cannot give informed consent, and therefore sexual contact with anyone under the age of 18 in any way, even if they gave consent, is considered sexual imposition. Ohio considers this a felony of either the third or fourth degree.
- Rape: Forcibly having sex with an individual of any age is considered rape, and a victim aged 17 or below is an aggravating factor that could lead to harsher penalties. Rape charges are a Felony of the first degree.
- Sexual battery: Engaging in sexual contact of any kind where the victim is under the age of 13 is considered sexual battery. In this instance, the charge would be considered statutory, meaning the victim cannot give legal consent, even if they willingly engaged in the sexual conduct. This is automatically charged as a felony of the second degree.
- Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor: This law is perhaps better known as statutory rape, and refers to consensual sexual intercourse between an adult perpetrator and a minor who willingly engaged in the intercourse. There are several different ways these charges could be classified, but you could face a misdemeanor of the first degree all the way up to a felony of the second degree depending on the circumstances of your charges.
“Romeo & Juliet Exemption”
Ohio does have a valid defense to certain sex crimes against minors, known as a “Romeo and Juliet” exception. This exception is designed to protect teenagers who engage in willful sexual conduct with others close to their own age.
In Ohio, this law protects teenagers who are at least 13 years old but younger than 18. The law also protects those who are over 18 when they have consensual sex with someone who is at least 16 years old, provided the perpetrator is no more than four years older than the victim.
Have you been accused of a child molestation crime? Contact the Law Office of Lorin Zaner today to start building your defense!