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Ohio Federal Sex Crimes

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Ohio Federal Sex Crimes

Ohio law prosecutes sex crimes. Sex crimes include rape, unlawful sexual conduct with minors, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, and other offenses. While states criminalize these acts and have jurisdiction over these cases, many sex offenses that violate state law also violate federal law. As a result, lawyers may try these cases in a United States district court, especially if the alleged criminal activity crosses state lines. Lawyers may also try them in a federal court if the alleged offense occurred on federal property, tribal land, or the police uncovered it due to a federal initiative.

Generally, it may be less common for the prosecution to try a sex crime at the federal level. However, prosecutors do prosecute some sex offenses there. These may include sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, sex trafficking, and the possession and distribution of child pornography. For example, prosecutors try most crimes involving children at the federal level. They typically consider internet sex crimes federal crimes because the internet is a facility of interstate commerce. Large and more substantial operations involving sex offenses are usually charged and tried as federal crimes.

Agencies and task forces of the United States Department of Justice (D.O.J.) are responsible for investigating federal sex offenses. Some of the federal agencies involved in enforcing federal sex crime laws include:

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigations (F.B.I.),
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.),
  • The National Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force,
  • The Postal Inspection Service (P.I.)

Ohio Federal Sex Crime Attorney, Cincinnati

If you have been arrested for a federal sex crime in Ohio, you are most likely concerned about your future right now. After all, the penalties for offenses of this nature can be quite severe. It’s important to remember, however, that an arrest does not mean a conviction. If you need an experienced attorney to help you fight back against your federal sex crime, contact Joslyn Law Firm. Our attorneys have been vigorously defending Cincinnati residents against their criminal charges for years, and we would love to do the same for you.

To schedule your first consultation with Joslyn Law Firm, call (513) 399-6289. Joslyn Law Firm represents clients in Franklin County, Madison County, Pickaway County, Fairfield County, Delaware County, Union County and Licking County, Ohio.


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Federal Sex Crime Definitions

Aggravated Sexual Abuse

According to 18 U.S.C. § 2241, a person is guilty of aggravated sexual abuse if he knowingly causes another person to engage in a sexual act—

  • by using force against that other person; or
  • by threatening or placing that other person in fear that any person will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping; or
  • by rendering another person unconscious and engaging in a sexual act with that other person; or
  • using (threat of) force, acting without the victim’s knowledge, or drugging the victim before engaging in a sexual act with this person.

Aggravated Sexual Abuse Involving Children

Any person who crosses a state line intending to engage in a sexual act with a person the perpetrator knows to be younger than twelve is guilty of a federal crime.

A person is also guilty of a criminal offense if he knowingly:

A judge may sentence this person from thirty years to life.

If a jury previously convicted the defendant of another federal sexual abuse offense, the defendant must be sentenced to life in prison unless the death penalty is imposed. Federal prosecutors are not required to prove that the defendant knew that the child was not at least twelve.

Sexual Abuse And Abusive Sexual Contact 

According to 18 U.S.C. § 2242, any person is guilty of a crime who knowingly:

  • causes another person to engage in a sexual act by threatening or placing that other person in fear they will die otherwise; or
  • engages in a sexual act with another person if that other person is incapable of understanding what’s going on; or
  • physically incapable of declining or communicating an unwillingness to engage in the sexual act; or
  • engages in a sexual act with another person without that other person’s consent and through coercion.

The term “sexual contact” means intentionally touching the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade that person or arouse and sexually gratify oneself.

Children Younger Than 12

If the sexual contact is with a child eleven or younger, the maximum term of imprisonment becomes twice what is otherwise provided by federal law.

Sex Trafficking Of Children 

The Sale Or Transfer Of Custody Of Children

According to 18 U.S.C. § 2251A, a person is guilty of a federal crime if, as a parent, legal guardian, or someone with custody or control of a minor, sells, transfers, or offers to sell custody of the child either:

  • knowing the minor will be portrayed in a visual depiction engaging in or assisting another person in engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
  • intending to promote engaging in sexually explicit conduct by that minor to produce a visual; or
  • aiding the minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct with another to produce a visual depiction.

The judge may punish the defendant with thirty years to life.

The Purchase Or Transfer Of Child Custody

A person is guilty of a federal crime if he purchases or gets custody or control of a minor:

  • knowing that, because of the sale or transfer, the minor will be portrayed in a visual depiction engaging in or assisting another person in engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
  • intending to promote a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct to be recorded; or
  • assisting the minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct with another to produce a visual depiction of it.

The minimum imprisonment for this crime is thirty years to life.

However, the non-negotiable minimum term of imprisonment is life if:

  • during the illegal conduct, the minor traveled, was transported, or affected interstate or foreign commerce;
  • any offer involving child custody procurement was communicated or transported using interstate, foreign commerce or any means including computer or mail; or
  • the crimes above happened within the United States.

Sexual Exploitation Of Children (18 U.S.C. § 2251)

(18 U.S.C. § 2251) makes it illegal to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct to produce visual depictions of that conduct.

Possession, Distribution, And Receipt Of Child Pornography

18 U.S.C. § 2252 makes it illegal to possess, distribute, or receive child pornography. It makes it a federal crime to sell child pornography or possess child pornography with the intent to sell it.

Certain Activities Relating To Child Pornography 

According to 18 U.S.C. § 2252A, it is illegal to use interstate or foreign commerce to knowingly ship, receive, distribute, mail, or transport child pornography.

Production Of Sexually Explicit Depictions Of A Minor For Importation Into The United States 

Federal law (18 U.S.C. § 2260) prohibits any persons outside the United States from knowingly producing, receiving, transporting, shipping, or distributing child pornography with the intent to import or transmit the visual depiction of such content into the United States.

Illegal Transportation Of Minors 

Interstate or foreign travel intending to engage in a sexual act with a minor can be prosecuted under this law, (18 U.S.C. § 2260) even if no illegal activity involving a minor occurred within U.S. territories.

Child Exploitation Enterprise 

The Adam Walsh Act created a new federal criminal offense (18 U.S.C. § 2252A(g)of engaging in a “child exploitation enterprise.” This law imposes severe mandatory minimum penalties for the most serious crimes against children. Penalties carry a mandatory minimum of twenty years in prison and a maximum term of life imprisonment.


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Penalties for Federal Sex Crime Charges

Other than extensive incarceration and lengthy court proceedings and costs, common penalties for sex offenses include but are not limited to:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • stigma
  • loss of parental rights
  • loss of, reduced, or forced supervised parental custody
  • sex offender registration (and reduced travel rights)
  • loss of employment-related licenses and certifications
  • reduced and restricted career opportunities

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Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations for federal sex crimes is five years. No law enforcement agencies can prosecute, try, or punish a suspect for any offense that does not involve a murder or death unless the indictment is found or the information is instituted within five years after the offense occurred.


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Defenses for Federal Sex Crime Charges

The following are some defenses to federal sex crime charges:


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Additional Resources

U.S. Citizen’s Guide to Sex Offender Registration – The Department of Justice provides this helpful guide containing information on the failure to register.

U.S. Sentencing Commission – This link provides reports and background information on federal sex offense crime sentencing legislation.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center – This organization and its website provide research & tools to advocates working on the frontlines to end sexual harassment, assault, and abuse.


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Ohio Federal Sex Crime Attorney, Cincinnati

If you have been arrested for a federal sex crime charge, do not believe you can handle this situation on your own. Instead, it is in your best interest to retain a skilled sex crime lawyer who can speak on your behalf and advise you of strategies that may help you avoid a conviction. Equipped with years of experience, Joslyn Law Firm is ready to begin working on your case immediately.

Joslyn Law Firm serves clients in Franklin County, Madison County, Fairfield County, Union County, Licking County, Madison County, and more. Call (513) 399-6289 to schedule a free consultation with Joslyn Law Firm immediately.


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  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional excellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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