Unlawful Sexual Contact with a Minor

Joslyn Law Firm provides legal defense for individuals facing sexual offense charges in the Cincinnati metropolitan area, throughout Hamilton County, and the surrounding areas. We are consistently recognized as one of Ohio’s top criminal defense firms, earning many top honors.

More than 20,000 clients have turned to Joslyn Law Firm for legal help, and many reputable organizations recognize us for our work, including Columbus CEO Magazine, which has awarded us the “Top Lawyer” designation.

Criminal charges related to sex offenses in Ohio come with tough penalties that could change the lives of individuals who are facing these allegations. We know that having sound criminal defense representation is important, and that’s what our criminal defense attorneys offer.

Joslyn Law Firm passionately represents their clients the way they would their family. We have been recognized and awarded both locally and nationally. We have reduced charges and had cases dismissed. We know how to take care of your criminal defense case when you bring it to us.

Cincinnati Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor (Statutory Rape) Defense Attorney

Joslyn Law Firm believes every defendant should have their day in court and that individuals are innocent until proven guilty. If you hire us to represent you, we will stand up for your rights.

Statutory rape is an old legal term that loosely translates to “technical rape.” It traditionally means an adult had sex with someone too young to give legal consent, and as such, the sex was nonconsensual by default, which constitutes rape.

Minors under age 16 cannot legally consent to have sex in Cincinnati. However, statutory rape and rape are different crimes in Ohio, provided the sex was only “technically” nonconsensual, which means the victim was not a child (under age 13) and consented.

Defendants facing statutory rape charges in Hamilton County, Ohio, need an understanding criminal defense attorney who handles delicate juvenile sex crimes cases. We demonstrate quality service and dedication to the clients we proudly serve. We have handled more than 20,000 criminal cases, including those involving sex-related charges.

In Cincinnati, statutory rape is called “unlawful sexual conduct with a minor” and is criminalized by Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04. Ohio uses the term “unlawful sexual conduct” instead of “rape” to distinguish between nonconsensual sex and consensual but unlawful sex.

If you have been charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in Cincinnati or the surrounding area, a conviction could bring grave consequences, such as jail or prison time, a criminal record, and possibly fines. You could also be required to register as a sex offender, making it challenging for you to your everyday life.

You still have legal options. You can contact the Joslyn Law Firm, which can review the details of your situation and advise you on your next steps. An unlawful sexual conduct defense lawyer can represent you, protect your legal rights, and make every effort to fight against the allegations on your behalf.

We understand what stress you are under and want to take all legal work off your shoulders. We are committed to bringing justice to you. The legal representation you secure can be critical to the outcome of your case. Call the Joslyn Law Firm at (513) 399-6289 for a free and confidential consultation. We can review the alleged sex crime charges you face in Cincinnati Hamilton County, Ohio, and advise you on the specifics of your case.

Comprehensive Information Center for Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor Charges in Cincinnati


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Cincinnati Defense Attorney Defining Statutory Rape

The term “statutory rape” typically refers to the crime of “unlawful sexual conduct with a minor” criminalized by Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04. However, the statute does not cover every type of sexual conduct traditionally referred to as “statutory rape.” It only criminalizes when someone over age 18 (an adult) has sex with someone he/she is not married to and should reasonably know is 13, 14, or 15 years old.

In Ohio, having sex with a minor under age 13 is considered rape (Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02), not statutory rape, and is a strict liability crime.

The offender does not need to know the child was under age 13; the offender’s age does not matter, and consent has no bearing on Ohio's child rape charges. Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is not a lesser-included offense of child rape in Cincinnati. Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 criminalizes “sexual conduct” that occurs only between someone over age 18 and a minor aged 13, 14, or 15.

Qualifying sexual conduct falling outside Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 is not punishable as unlawful sexual conduct with a minor but may be punishable as another Ohio sex offense under Chapter 2907 of the Ohio Revised Code.


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The Difference Between Statutory Rape, Rape, and Sexual Battery Charges in Cincinnati

Many sex crimes codified in Ohio Revised Code § 2907 overlap. The same criminal act may qualify as rape, sexual battery, statutory rape, and gross sexual imposition in Cincinnati. Understanding the differences between Ohio’s major sex crimes is essential to defend against statutory rape charges without unwittingly admitting to another Ohio sex offense.

Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is one of Ohio’s three major sex crimes: (1) rape, (2) sexual battery, and (3) unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. If you have been charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in Cincinnati, you are an adult accused of having sex with someone between the ages of 13 and 16.

Actual consent and knowledge of the minor’s age are the two major differences between statutory rape charges under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 and rape/sexual battery charges under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02 and Ohio Revised Code § 2907.03.

Anytime an adult offender has sex with someone between the ages of 13 and 16, prosecutors may charge the offender with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor regardless of consent. However, Ohio Revised § 2907.04 was drafted to cover situations where the victim desired to have sex with the offender. If the evidence indicates a victim was forced, pressured, or coerced into engaging in sexual conduct with the offender, this is normally charged as rape or sexual battery.

The presence of actual (although not legal) consent is why offenders may only be convicted of statutory rape when they knew or “should have known” the victim was underage.

Prosecutors will traditionally charge defendants with the highest-level sex offense that fits the crime, but sexual offenders cannot be convicted of both the primary offense and a necessary lesser-included offense.

For example, men and women charged with rape of a 15-year-old under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02 cannot be convicted of both rape and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. However, prosecutors may allow defendants to plea to lesser-included statutory rape charges instead of pursuing a rape or sexual battery prosecution.


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Evidence Needed to Prove Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor (Statutory Rape) in Cincinnati

The Bureau of Justice Statistics noted that the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS), conducted in 1995-1996, “estimated an incidence rate for rape (counting multiple rapes) of 8.7 per 1,000 women aged 18 or older, compared with an incidence rate for rape (including attempted rape) and sexual assault in the previous 12 months of 2.3 per 1,000 women aged 12 or older from the 1996 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).”

Hamilton County prosecutors must prove every element of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor beyond a reasonable doubt. In relevant part, Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 states that “[n]o person who is eighteen years of age or older shall engage in sexual conduct with another, who is not the spouse of the offender when the offender knows the other person is thirteen years of age or older but less than sixteen years of age or the offender is reckless in that regard.”

This means prosecutors must prove each of the following criminal elements of statutory rape to sustain Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 charges in Cincinnati:

  • The defendant was over age 18 when the allegedly criminal conduct occurred.
  • The parties (defendant and victim) actually engaged in “sexual conduct” as defined by Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01, such as they had vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
  • The parties were not spouses at the time of the offense. (Ohio law prohibits marriage to someone under age 17 but must respect legal marriages entered into in another state or territory.)
  • The victim was over age 13 but under age 16—meaning the victim was 13, 14, or 15 years old when the parties had sex.
  • Before having sex, the adult offender actually knew or reasonably should have known the victim was underage.

You are innocent of Cincinnati sex crimes charges until proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Prosecutors bear the burden of producing admissible evidence of each of the above elements of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor during trial.

If the prosecution team does not produce enough admissible evidence that supports the charges, the court may dismiss your Cincinnati statutory rape charges.

Cincinnati sex crimes investigators generally look for/require the following evidence to prove unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in Hamilton County:

  • Legal documents proving one’s age, such as birth certificates, licenses, passports, admissions, or even expert medical testimony.
  • Evidence of “sexual conduct,” which typically means the parties were (1) caught in the act, (2) admitted to having sex, (3) the defendant’s sperm was found on/in the victim, or (4) the victim is pregnant.
  • Proof that the parties were unmarried, including testimony or documentary evidence.
  • Evidence that the offender knew or should have known the victim’s age.

The last element is the hardest to prove because it requires evidence of a “subjective mindset.” The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects criminal defendants from being forced to give self-incriminating testimony. It also prohibits the court from using a defendant’s refusal to testify against him.

Hamilton County prosecutors must use circumstantial evidence, defined here by Court News Ohio, to prove that the defendant knew or “should have known” the victim was under age 16 and over age 13. This evidence often includes:

  • Testimony from the victim, friends, family members, or teachers that the defendant knew the victim was underage
  • The victim’s youthful appearance
  • Social media evidence, such as recent photos showing the victim at their 14th birthday party
  • Text messages and chat history between the parties
  • The defendant’s unwitting admission of knowledge

Defendants cannot turn a blind eye to the victim’s age. If he/she appears under age 16 to a reasonable person, this is traditionally enough to shift the defendant's evidentiary burden. A jury must then consider evidence that the defendant did not (and should not) have known the victim was under age 16. This critical defensive evidence often includes:

  • Direct testimony from the defendant, friends, or family members.
  • How and where the parties met, e, g., at an over-18 club.
  • Whether the victim had a job, driver’s license, child, or a fake ID.
  • The victim’s appearance/apparel
  • The victim’s social media profile and social groups, like photographs of the individual on a college campus.
  • Activities indicating the victim as older than they appeared, such as the defendant witnessed the individual applying to college, smoking, drinking, or driving.

According to Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, in 2015, “Within public access buildings, 49 percent [of sexual assaults] occurred at schools or colleges.” A jury will review the circumstantial evidence surrounding the offense to determine whether the defendant knew or was “reckless” as to the victim’s age. 


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Understanding and Applying Ohio’s “Romeo & Juliet” Provision to Cincinnati Statutory Rape Charges

A “Romeo & Juliet” provision is a legal exception to statutory rape charges (or penalties) present in most states (Shakespeare’s Juliet was 13 years old while Romeo was probably between ages 16 and 21). A Romeo & Juliet provision can protect a defendant from a statutory rape conviction if he was under age 18 or the parties had a minimal age gap like between 15 and 18. Each state has variations of this provision.

Ohio has both written and unwritten “Romeo and Juliet” provisions. Ohio’s unwritten provision is that consensual sexual conduct between two minors, both over age 13 and under age 18, is generally not criminal. A minor defendant cannot be prosecuted for statutory rape in Cincinnati under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04, although they may be guilty of another qualifying sex crime. Ohio’s written Romeo & Juliet provision is contained in Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04(B)(2).

This subsection mitigates the penalties, and possibly the offense level, of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor conviction, but it is not a defense to statutory rape itself.

If the offender is fewer than four years older than the victim and a first-time offender, statutory rape is a misdemeanor instead of a felony. There is a substantial difference between the direct and collateral consequences of misdemeanor and felony sex offense convictions in Cincinnati. A Cincinnati statutory rape defense attorney can determine if you qualify for this age exception/mitigation.

Statutory rape penalties in Cincinnati are mitigated by Ohio’s written Romeo & Juliet provision as follows:

  • Not Statutory Rape – The parties were both between the ages of 13 and 18.
  • Misdemeanor of the First Degree – The offender was over age 18 but was “less than four years older” than the victim at the time of the offense, such as the victim was age 15 and the offender was age 18.
  • A Felony of the Fourth Degree – The offender was over age 18 but less than 10 years older than the victim, such as the victim was age 15, and the offender was age 21.
  • A Felony of the Third Degree – The offender was over age 18 and “10 or more years older” than the victim.

If the victim was under age 13, this is rape punishable as a first-degree felony regardless of the defendant’s age. The rule of lenity, per Ohio Revised Codes § 2901.04, dictates that ambiguities in a criminal statute must be read to favor the defendant. As such, age gaps are traditionally measured relative to the parties’ actual birthdays.

For example, a victim born on Dec. 31, 2004, and a defendant born on Jan. 1, 2001, have an age difference of three years, 11 months, and 30 days, which is legally less than four years. Hiring a Cincinnati statutory rape defense lawyer to calculate the parties’ exact age gap could mean the difference between misdemeanor and felony charges. 


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Special Investigations and Court Procedures During Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor Prosecutions in Cincinnati 

Some of the most difficult cases to investigate and prosecute involve sexual conduct with minors. This is especially true in statutory rape cases where minors must submit to extremely personal physical and testimonial forensic examinations. Statutory rape investigations are further complicated because the sexual conduct was usually consensual.

Still, parents may pressure young victims to submit to these challenging examinations as a means of prosecuting a boyfriend/girlfriend. Minors under age 16 often have no choice but to comply with their guardians’ wishes. Ohio has certain specialized evidentiary procedures to protect minor victims of sex crimes, but they are limited. They include:

  • Utilizing specially trained sexual assault investigators and psychologists to interview the victim
  • Reviewing all evidence related to the parties’ sexual history and reputation outside the presence of a jury
  • Questioning the minor only via a closed-circuit camera if requested
  • Appointing the minor a guardian ad litem to represent her interests during statutory rape proceedings
  • Limiting the type of sexual reputation evidence admissible at trial

Despite these protections, Cincinnati statutory rape investigations often cause serious emotional harm to both parties. Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor defense lawyers work tirelessly with Hamilton County prosecutors, parents, the court, and nonprofits to have statutory rape charges dropped in favor of alternative arrangements.

This is often in both parties’ best interests. Individuals accused of unlawful sexual contact or conduct with a minor in Cincinnati may want to consult with an Ohio statutory rape defense lawyer familiar with the special procedures utilized in Ohio sexual assault cases.


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Possible Direct Penalties of an Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor Conviction in Cincinnati

The age difference between the parties (defendant and victim) dictates the offense level for an unlawful sexual conduct with a minor conviction under target="_blank"Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04.

If the conviction is for a first-time sex offense, and the offender is “less than four years older” than the victim, statutory rape is a misdemeanor in the first degree. First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by not more than six months imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000, as outlined in Ohio Revised Code § 2929.28. This is the “Romeo & Juliet” provision in Ohio. First-time statutory rape offenders convicted of a misdemeanor may avoid jail time with a Cincinnati sex crimes defense lawyer representing them.

Unless you qualify for the Romeo & Juliet mitigation, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is punishable as follows:

  • A felony of the fourth degree if the offender is fewer than 10 years older than the victim (fourth-degree felonies are punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment and/or a fine up to $5,000)
  • A felony of the third degree if the offender is 10 or more years older than the victim (third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000)
  • Felony in the second degree regardless of age if the offender has previously been convicted of rape under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02, sexual battery under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.03, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor (statutory rape) under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04, or Ohio Revised Code § 2907.12 (now repealed)—second-degree felonies are punishable by up to eight years of imprisonment and a fine up to $15,000 

These are the direct penalties associated with a conviction under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 in Cincinnati, but Hamilton County judges may (and often must) order the following during a statutory rape sentencing:

  • Payment of mandatory restitution to the victim for expenses incurred due to the illegal conduct, such as medical bills and/or child support
  • Payment of all trial and investigation fees (typically waived if the offender pleads guilty)
  • Post-release community control (probation)
  • Community service
  • Family counseling or rehabilitation
  • Designation as a sexual offender and mandatory registration on the Ohio Sex Offender Registry as a Tier I or Tier II sex offender

One way to avoid the life-altering consequences of a Cincinnati statutory rape conviction is to avoid a conviction altogether. A Cincinnati sex crimes defense lawyer may be able to help you.


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Possible Collateral and Indirect Penalties of a Cincinnati Statutory Rape Conviction

The indirect consequences of an unlawful sexual conduct with a minor conviction in Cincinnati are often worse than the direct penalties imposed. Cincinnati sex crimes defendants may plead guilty to Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 charges in exchange for leniency during sentencing, including the waiver of costs and no jail time. However, some people do this without understanding the lifetime consequences of an Ohio sex crime conviction.

The worst of these unanticipated consequences stem from designation as a sex offender (Ohio Revised Code § 2950) and mandatory registration on the Ohio Sex Offender Registry.

Individuals convicted of felony-level statutory rape are considered Tier II sex offenders, while individuals convicted of misdemeanor statutory rape are Tier I offenders. Tier II offenders remain on the sex offender registry for 25 years. They must check in with local law enforcement every six months. Tier I offenders remain on the registry for 10 to 15 years and must check in with law enforcement annually.

The following information appears on the Ohio sex offender registry. Some, but not all, of this information is available to the public. You must update this information as it changes:

  • Legal name, nickname, and/or aliases
  • Photo
  • Home address
  • Work address
  • Conviction type and/or criminal designation
  • Vehicle registration information
  • Screen names
  • Phone numbers
  • Email address
  • Any internet handles, websites, or alternative web designations

Failure to register and update this information as necessary may result in new criminal charges or reincarceration. In addition to a public appearance on the registry, numerous Ohio and Cincinnati laws regulate where registered sex offenders can live, work, and frequent. This includes an inability to live within 1,000 feet of a school and certain neighborhood notifications of your presence.

Additional legal consequences of the designation as an Ohio sexual offender include:

  • Severe residency restrictions, like the inability to live within a certain range of a school zone or in certain apartment buildings/condos.
  • Ineligibility for certain public programs, housing, and benefits.
  • Inability to use certain Cincinnati public facilities, such as parks and pools.
  • Loss of child custody/ability to foster/adopt children.
  • Prohibition from certain university and college campuses and the inability to get student aid.
  • Ineligibility to obtain or the loss of certain professional licenses, such as teaching, law, or nursing licenses.
  • Inability to work as a police officer or other public servant.
  • Loss of most corporate and professional-level jobs.

Individuals convicted of felony-level statutory rape in Cincinnati are also subject to the following potential consequences of designation as felons:

  • Ineligibility for public jobs and loss of most private jobs.
  • Loss of all firearms rights for violent felons (typically not a consequence of a single statutory rape conviction).
  • Loss of certain public benefits.
  • Temporary loss of the right to vote.
  • An inability to obtain certain recreational or professional licenses.
  • Difficulty getting into college or obtaining financial aid.
  • Inability to travel outside the state or country.
  • Possible deportation for noncitizens.
  • Difficulty obtaining a mortgage, loan, or financing.

A Cincinnati sex crimes defense attorney should review both the direct and indirect penalties of a statutory rape conviction with the defendant and his/her family. Defendants who understand the full breadth of these consequences may proceed to trial rather than accept a plea deal. One way to avoid most of these life-altering consequences of a Cincinnati statutory rape conviction is to avoid a conviction.


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Common Defenses a Cincinnati Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor Defense Lawyer Can Present

Defeating unlawful sexual conduct with a minor charges in Cincinnati is possible with the help of a Hamilton County sex crimes defense team. Not every potential defense applies to each prosecution, and your statutory rape defense strategy depends heavily on the case’s facts. This includes the circumstances surrounding the offense and the evidence (or lack thereof) that Cincinnati sex crimes investigators have gathered.

The success of certain defenses may also hinge on the judge, prosecutor, or investigator assigned to your case. Some Cincinnati sex crimes defense lawyers employ the following defenses to Ohio statutory rape charges:

Lack of Knowledge of Age

A strong defense to Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 charges is if the defendant did not know the victim was under age 16. The defendant must not have had a “reason to know” the victim was underage. The jury must look at the totality of the evidence presented, including what the defendant knew about the victim, like if the person had a job, what the victim told the defendant, and what the defendant should have surmised from the facts, such as the individual looks young.

Willful blindness and purposefully not asking too many questions about age is not a defense to statutory rape in Cincinnati, but a good faith belief that the victim was over age 16 is. This is a complete defense to charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in Ohio. 

Constitutional Violations

Because statutory rape is punishable as a felony, a grand jury must indict the defendant under the Fifth Amendment. A defendant is also entitled to a lawyer during every “critical stage” of a statutory rape prosecution. Cincinnati sex crimes investigators cannot obtain certain evidence without a valid warrant. Further, defendants are entitled to cross-examine and be confronted with the witnesses against them.

There is no exception to this right, even if a victim was a minor, but the court may permit cross-examination via closed-circuit television. Major constitutional violations often result in the exclusion of critical evidence and dismissal of Cincinnati statutory rape charges.

Exclusion of Inadmissible Hearsay Evidence

Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor often involves illegal but consensual sex. As such, some victims are hesitant to testify about the sexual encounter, and sex crimes investigators may rely on parental testimony.

Parents or medical professionals (mandatory reporters) who ascertain an underage victim has had sex with an adult due to pregnancy, an STD, Facebook messages, or other reasons often report statutory rape to police. As such, a lot of evidence gathered in unlawful sexual conduct with a minor cases may be inadmissible hearsay evidence, as outlined by the Supreme Court of Ohio Rules of Evidence

This evidence is admissible during grand jury proceedings and to get a warrant, but it is not admissible at trial. Objecting to inadmissible hearsay evidence during Cincinnati statutory rape prosecutions may result in an inability to support the charges.

No Sexual Conduct 

Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 only criminalizes qualifying “sexual activity.” This means vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Sexual contact like kissing or groping is not statutory rape. Cincinnati prosecutors must show that qualifying sexual conduct with another person, not just “contact,” actually occurred to sustain charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. 

Minority (Under Age 18)

Defendants under age 18 at the time of the alleged offense may not be charged with statutory rape under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04. The age difference between the parties does not matter if both are under age 18 and over age 13. 

Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 simply does not apply to underage defendants; however, this does not mean an underage defendant cannot be charged with a related offense, such as rape or sexual battery. 

Marriage

Marriage is a complete defense to statutory rape, but it is seldom applicable since Ohio changed its marriage laws. Ohio’s new legislation raised the legal age of marriage to 18. 

This change does not invalidate marriages that took place before the legislation took effect and would not invalidate an otherwise legal out-of-state marriage under the United States Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause.

However, the out-of-state marriage must not be against “public policy,” such as if the victim is under age 15, related to the defendant, or a “child bride.”

Lesser Included Offense

Statutory rape may be a lesser-included offense of another Ohio sex crime. The law of lesser-included offenses is complicated, but the general rule is that if it is impossible to prove the elements of a more serious sex crime like sexual battery without automatically proving all the elements of statutory rape, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is the lesser-included offense. You may not be convicted of a lesser-included offense on the same facts. 

Suppose the evidence does not support a complete defense to Cincinnati statutory rape charges. In that case, it may mitigate a sex offender’s sentence or convince Hamilton County prosecutors to offer a beneficial plea deal.

Proving that the individual was of sound mind and body is often sufficient to negotiate a mutually beneficial plea agreement. A compassionate and professional Cincinnati unlawful sexual conduct with a minor defense lawyer should determine how any applicable defenses are presented.


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Related Ohio Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor News and Articles 

Lima Woman to Stand Trial for Having Sex with Minor. The Lima News reports that a 24-year-old Lima, Ohio, woman is facing one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor between ages 13 and 16, a fourth-degree felony. She was recently deemed mentally competent to stand trial.

Waterford Man Arrested for Sex Crimes Involving Minor. According to a Marietta Times report, a Waterford, Ohio, man was recently arrested and charged with sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. If convicted on the sexual battery charge, he faces life in prison.

Ohio Man Arrested for Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor. WKBN reports that police recently investigated a Lawrence County, Ohio, man who is facing charges after accused of unlawful sexual misconduct with a minor. Each of the five counts he faces is a third-degree felony.

Lancaster Man Convicted of Arranging to Meet 14-Year-Old Girl for Sexual Contact Through Online Messages. A jury recently found a 22-year-old man from Lancaster, Ohio, guilty of unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors, according to a Fox43 report. He was convicted on two felony charges stemming from a March 2019 incident involving a girl who was 14 years old at the time. The man was said to have messaged the girl online to set up a meeting with her for sexual intercourse.


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FAQs Answered by Cincinnati Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor Defense Attorneys

The following are answers to the most common questions Joslyn Law Firm's Cincinnati sex crimes defense lawyers are asked about statutory rape (unlawful sexual conduct with a minor) charges under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04.

Q: What Is Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor?

A: It is statutory rape. Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is the official title of Ohio’s statutory rape law as codified in Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04. Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is typically a felony-level sex offense that criminalizes having sex with someone ages 13, 14, or 15 when the age of the offender was over age 18 and had reason to know the victim’s age.

Having sex with an individual under age 13, regardless of the sex offender’s age, is rape. If the parties have less than a four-year age difference, statutory rape is a misdemeanor. If they have more than a four-year age difference or the sex offender has previously been convicted of a serious sex crime, statutory rape is a felony.

Q: What Does “Sexual Conduct” with a Minor Mean?

A: It means you had sex with someone age 13, 14, or 15. The Ohio Revised Code defines sexual conduct and includes any type of vaginal, anal, or oral penetration regardless of gender.

For purposes of Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 prosecutions, a minor is defined as someone under the age of 16 but above the age of 13. Anyone under the age of 13 is considered a child, not a minor. Sexual conduct with a child is rape.

Q: What Is Corruption of a Minor in Ohio?

A: It is unlawful sexual conduct with a minor (statutory rape) as criminalized by Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04. Corruption of a minor is the old name for this crime. All three terms—corruption of a minor, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and statutory rape—refer to Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04.

Q: What Is the Age of Consent in Ohio?

A: Sixteen (16). There is no longer a marriage exception to the age of consent in Ohio. No one can legally consent to engage in sexual conduct, as defined above, if they are under age 16. There is no exception to this rule.

Q: Is Kissing a Minor Illegal in Ohio?

A: Kissing a minor is not statutory rape in Ohio, but it may still be illegal in limited circumstances. This depends on the age of the offender and minor, whether the parties consented to the kiss, and the circumstances surrounding the kiss. Generally, no one over age 18 should kiss someone under the age of 16 for sexual gratification, and no one (whether a minor or adult) should kiss someone under the age of 13 with a nefarious purpose.

Children cannot legally consent to such contact, and it may be battery or sexual imposition (molestation) in Cincinnati. Otherwise, it is not illegal to kiss a minor with his/her consent.

Q: Does Ohio Have a “Romeo & Juliet” Law?

A: Yes. Ohio has both a written and unwritten “Romeo & Juliet” provision. The unwritten provision stems from the fact that Ohio’s unlawful sexual conduct with a minor statute does not apply to juvenile offenders (those under age 18). Ohio also has a written “Romeo & Juliet” provision contained within subsection (B)(2) of the Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04.

This reduces the level of a statutory rape offense from a fourth-degree felony to a first-degree misdemeanor if there is less than a four-year age difference between them. It also reduces the offender from a Tier II to a Tier I sex offender.

Q: What Are Common Defenses to Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor Charges?

A: Aside from any available constitutional or procedural defenses, the most common defenses to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor charges include:

  • Lack of Knowledge of Age – the sex offender did not (and had no reason to) know the victim was under age 16
  • Marriage – the parties were in a legally recognized marriage at the time of the offense
  • Minority – the defendant was under age 18
  • Mental Incapacity – the sex offender was not able to comprehend the victim’s age or his/her actions due to reduced mental functioning

The specific defenses applicable to Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 charges depend on each case's facts and the evidence available to Cincinnati prosecutors.

Q: What Should I Do if I Am Arrested on a Statutory Rape Charge in Cincinnati?

A: Do not speak to the police without a lawyer present. Immediately do the following:

  • Invoke your Fifth Amendment right to silence.
  • Invoke your Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to an attorney.
  • Stay off social media.
  • Do not speak to cellmates or answer any questions before speaking with a Cincinnati sex crimes defense lawyer.
  • Call an Ohio statutory rape criminal for legal advice or—at the very least—demand to speak with a public defender.

Respectfully but vigilantly assert your constitutional rights to remain silent and obtain a criminal defense lawyer. Cincinnati sex crimes investigators may approach you. They may be counting on you to provide a critical piece of evidence otherwise missing from the case. Your silence may mean the difference between conviction and acquittal of statutory rape in Cincinnati.


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Cincinnati Statutory Rape and Sexual Assault Resources

Cincinnati statutory rape prosecutions often involve more than criminal issues. Fear of statutory rape charges may prevent Cincinnati residents from seeking needed medical, legal, or emotional help.

The compassionate Cincinnati statutory rape defense attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm understand these fears and are sworn to confidentiality during legal defense consultations. The following sexual assault and health resources are also available in Cincinnati:


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Unlawful Sexual Contact with a Minor Lawyer in Cincinnati

A dedicated Hamilton County sex crimes defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm can provide a safe party to speak about your statutory rape concerns.

Our legal defense team acts as your advocate both inside and outside the courtroom. Whether you have questions about Ohio's statutory rape or have been charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in Cincinnati, we can help.

Contact us today online or by calling Joslyn Law Firm at (513) 399-6289 for your free, confidential sex crimes defense consultation. Act now.


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