Just Because You Don’t Think It’s a Sex Crime, Does Not Mean It Isn’t: An Overview of Sexual Imposition Laws in Ohio

The average person has a general idea of what constitutes rape or sexual battery, but are not aware that certain reckless behavior or sexual contact with an impaired person constitutes the criminal offense of sexual imposition.

What is Sexual Imposition?

According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.06, it is a criminal offense for a person to have sexual contact, cause another person to have sexual contact, or cause two or more persons to have sexual contact with a person who is not their spouse when:

  • The alleged offender knew the sexual contact was offensive or the conduct was reckless;
  • The alleged offender knew the other person’s ability to control the offender’s conduct was substantially impaired;
  • The alleged offender knew the other person submitted because they were unaware of the sexual contact;
  • The alleged offender was at least 18 at the time of the offense and four or more years older than the other person, and the other person was 13 at the time of the offense but less than 16 years old; OR
  • The alleged offender is or was a mental health professional who induced a client or patient to believe the sexual conduct was necessary for mental health treatment.

Sexual Imposition Criminal Penalties

Sexual Imposition may be a misdemeanor of the first or third degree depending on the defendant’s previous sexual offense convictions. A first degree misdemeanor is punishable up to 180 days in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000. A third degree misdemeanor is punishable up to 60 days in jail and a fine of no more than $500.

Ohio Sexual Imposition Cases

While the aforementioned statute appears straight forward, there has been much debate over what constitutes sexual imposition and the evidence necessary to support a criminal conviction.

It is well established in Ohio law that a person cannot be convicted of sexual imposition solely based on the testimony of the alleged victim, but how much evidence is necessary to support a sexual imposition conviction? Does an alleged victim have to prove force or injury?

In the cases below, the Ohio Supreme Court has clarified the elements of a sexual imposition conviction and corroborating evidence necessary to support a sexual imposition conviction.

State v. Economo, 76 Ohio St.3d 56, 666 N.E.2d 225 (Ohio, 1996)

In State v. Economo a medical doctor was convicted of two counts of sexual imposition after he allegedly inappropriately touched a female patient during two office visits. He allegedly massaged her private areas and rubbed his pant-covered erect penis on her arm. The Court in Economo reasoned the aforementioned conduct was offensive and reckless.

The defendant in Economo argued that the aforementioned conduct could not be corroborated other than by testimony of the alleged victim and her sister. The Court rejected his argument stating that sexual imposition is different from other sexual offenses as it does not involve force. A victim of sexual imposition will likely not have any bruises or marks to evidence the attack.

The Court reasoned that the other evidence, including proof that the victim had a doctor’s appointment with the defendant on the dates of the alleged assaults, the victim and the defendant had a 2-year patient-physician relationship, the victim’s fear of being alone in an exam room with the defendant, and the sister’s testimony that the victim was near tears after the appointment was sufficient proof the sexual imposition occurred. The defendant’s sexual imposition conviction was reinstated.

State v. Guenther, 2006 Ohio 767 (OH 2/22/2006), 2006 Ohio 767 (OH, 2006)

The defendant in Guenther was convicted of one count of sexual imposition and one count of gross imposition. The defendant allegedly inappropriately touched a female co-worker inappropriately on at least three occasions.

According to the testimony of the testimony of the victim, the defendant touched the victim’s breast by rubbing his chest against hers on one occasion. On the second occasion another male blocked the victim from exiting the room and the defendant touched the victim’s breast. On the third occasion the defendant prevented the victim from exiting her chair so he could touch her breasts in a small room.

The victim’s testimony was corroborated by the workplace supervisor, who had not witnessed the inappropriate touching, but was aware the victim was visibly shaken around the defendant. The supervisor was also afraid of the defendant and attempted to prevent his access to the victim.

The Court in Guenther reasoned the aforementioned evidence was sufficient to support his conviction and affirmed his conviction of sexual imposition and gross sexual imposition.

Conclusion

A sexual imposition case is fact intensive and requires a strong defense. While you may be falsely accused or your actions may have been misinterpreted, this may not be properly heard or believed by the jury in criminal court.

It is highly recommended to consult an experienced sexual imposition defense attorney if you are facing sexual imposition or gross sexual imposition charges in Ohio. Brian Joslyn of the Joslyn Law Firm is a trial proven sex crimes defense attorney.

Brian Joslyn has years of experience defending individuals facing sexual imposition charges. He is familiar with the tactics of the sex crimes investigators and prosecutors. He will skillfully examine all the evidence against you and develop the strongest defense possible.

If you have been charged with any sex crime, including sexual imposition, gross sexual imposition, rape, or child pornography contact the Joslyn Law Firm immediately at 614-444-1900 for a free evaluation of your case.

The Joslyn Law Firm diligently defends individuals throughout Ohio, including Franklin County, Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County.

References:

State v. Economo, 76 Ohio St.3d 56, 666 N.E.2d 225 (Ohio, 1996)

State v. Guenther, 2006 Ohio 767 (OH 2/22/2006), 2006 Ohio 767 (OH, 2006)

Because Ladies Lie: Eliminating Vestiges of the Corroboration and Resistance Requirements from Ohio’s Sexual Offenses, Cleveland State Law Review, 2014.

 

Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Sex With a Minor

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Paul P. Schildhouse, 56, from Aurora, Illinois pleaded guilty on March 22nd, 2016 to one count of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, which is a fourth-degree felony at Pickaway County Common Pleas Court.  Schildhouse is facing a maximum of 18 months in prison along with a $5,000 fine and plans to be sentenced following a pre-sentence investigation done by the court.  He will also be required to register as a sex offender and if is decided to be imprisoned, must serve five years of post-release control.

 

Read More about this case at Pickaway News Journal.

Annual Permits for Hotels and Motels Proposed to Deter Prostitution and Solicitation Crimes in Columbus

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Columbus officials are working to implement a new plan that would create stronger regulations on hotels and motels in the city in an attempt to curb solicitation and prostitution crimes occurring at the businesses, according to a recent article in the Columbus Dispatch.

The Columbus City Council plans to hold a hearing on the proposed law on July 30, 2015, after more than one year of planning and drafting. According to the article, the law would require annual permits for hotel and motel operators. If the business has a high crime rate, the permit to operate could be denied.

Officials who drafted the law studied a similar one that was adopted in Chula Vista, California, in 2006. The city, located near San Diego, can deny annual hotel and motel permits if officials decide the businesses had too many arrests related to drugs and prostitution. This regulation would be the first of its kind in Ohio.

Several Columbus area hotel and motel businesses have been involved in controversial crime stories in recent years. Three motels near the Interstate 71 and Route 161 interchange that were widely known as a site for drug and prostitution crimes have been closed by court order.

Law enforcement officers with the Columbus Ohio Division of Police typically use these locations for undercover sting operations. An undercover office may pose as a prostitute near the motel and another officer would arrest those who solicit him or her for sexual acts.

In many of these cases, an entrapment defense comes into play because the undercover police officers posing as prostitutes tend to use aggressive techniques to pursue the unsuspecting man to engage in conduct that could be considered soliciting a prostitute.

Ohio law states soliciting a prostitute is a third-degree misdemeanor for a first offense. This could be punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both. In these cases, the person does not have to be an actual prostitute for it to qualify as an offense.

For instance, if a person solicits an undercover police officer to engage in sexual activity in exchange for compensation, he or she still could face solicitation charges. Additionally, the compensation does not have to be money. It could be any type of good, service or object, including narcotics.

Ohio law also outlines loitering in an attempt to solicit a prostitute a criminal offense. According to state law, a person who is attempting to solicit another to engage in sexual activity for hire while in or near a public place cannot do any of the following:

  • Beckon to, stop or attempt to stop another person;
  • Engage or attempt to engage another in conversation;
  • Stop or attempt to stop a vehicle operator; or
  • Interfere with the passage of another.

A public place, according to the law, could mean a street, road, highway, bikeway, walkway, bridge, alley, plaza, park, driveway and a parking lot. Loitering near a hotel or motel with the intent to solicit a person for sexual activity could result in an arrest.

Although being accused of a solicitation or prostitution crime could feel like the end of the world, there are options for building a strong defense. Weakening the prosecution’s case before it even goes to trial could help to ensure your life remains on track. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.

Contact Columbus solicitation attorney Brian Joslyn of Joslyn Law Firm. Brian Joslyn has years of experience fighting for the rights of those accused of solicitation. He understands the sensitivity of your charges, and he will work with you discretely to solve your issues. Your future and reputation are important, and Brian can help you protect both. Call (614) 444-1900 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Columbus solicitation defense attorney.

Constructing Defenses Against Sexual Assault and Other Sexual Crime Charges

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When a person is accused of sexual assault or another sexual offense, he or she often is faced with the challenge of proving his or her innocence long after the charges have been dismissed. This has been true for several college students in recent years.

According to a Fox News article, an Amherst College student accused another student of rape 21 months after the alleged incident. The person accused of the offense was expelled from the campus, despite evidence showing the act was consensual, according to the article.

In this scenario, only a finding that he was “more likely than not” guilty was necessary. This seems to be common in many campus procedures as schools become more determined to crack down on sexual assault accusations.

Another student who was accused of raping a fellow classmate at Columbia University is suing the university, claiming she harassed him. According to the article, a professor at the university allowed the alleged victim to carry a mattress on campus as part of a senior art project concerning the alleged offense, even after the student was cleared of rape charges.

In some cases, criminal investigations have found the alleged attackers to be innocent, but the university had a different opinion. A student at University of North Dakota in 2010 was charged with sexually assaulting a fellow student, found guilty by a campus tribunal and later expelled. Months later, police charged the alleged victim for deliberately falsifying the charges.

Any time there is an accusation of sexual battery or another sexual crime, building a defense as soon as possible is critical to fighting the charges. The most effective way to weaken the prosecution’s case could be to do so before the case even goes to trial. This also could help in any administrative matters regarding the charges.

In many sexual assault cases, especially those involving incidences at higher education institutes, it is the word of the victim against the word of the accused. Proving a person’s innocence seems like a daunting task, but there are several strategies that could be used.

One of the most commonly used defenses to accusations of a sex crime is that the sexual activity that took place was consensual. This is common in these higher education cases. Sometimes students will partake in consensual sex and the alleged victim will claim that he or she was sexually assaulted.

Other times, the alleged accuser and his or her criminal defense attorney can challenge the word of the alleged victim. If the victim is lying about the offense, the defense could dispute his or her claim of the act. Having an alibi could be beneficial in this defense.

In some scenarios, the defense could admit the sexual act occurred, but argue it was not done illegally. Although this sounds complex, it could be done. Examples of this include:

  • The alleged offender did not use force, threats or violence
  • The alleged offender and the alleged victim were married at the time of the offense
  • The defendant is accused of statutory rape, but the alleged victim lied about his or her age

In order to determine what defense option is best for you, it is important to contact a sex crimes defense attorney immediately. Brian Joslyn can analyze your case and choose the defense option that gives you the best chance of avoiding the penalties associated with your alleged offense. Call (614) 444-1900 to schedule a free consultation immediately.

Ohio Police Using Backpage and Craigslist for Solicitation and Prostitution Arrests

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Law enforcement agencies throughout Franklin County and the surrounding areas in Ohio are cracking down on online advertising for erotic services and changing the way solicitation arrests are made.

Within recent years, websites like Backpage and Craigslist have been used to promote erotic services. Men and women are labeled “companions” in the ads, or they advertise massage services. However, these businesses typically are frauds and are used to advertise illegal prostitution.

Police departments are aware of the tactics used to promote prostitution. The departments often use sting operations to make prostitution and solicitation arrests. In some cases, undercover officers may contact the number in the ad, using that to make prostitution or trafficking arrests.

Other times, departments can run ads on the websites and arrange meetings with those seeking the services at local Columbus hotels and motels. This often is done at businesses near the Interstate 71 and Route 161 interchange, such as Days Inn Columbus North and Doubletree Hotel.

When meeting the “johns,” undercover officers pose as prostitutes and make arrests once the person solicits the officer or exchanges money with the officer for sexual services.

According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.241, solicitation is defined as knowingly and intentionally attempting to persuade, compel, induce or encourage  someone to participate in sexual activity in order to receive some form of compensation. A sexual act does not have to be committed for the charge to apply.

For example, if an undercover officer is posing as a prostitute, other officers can make a solicitation arrest once the john suggests he or she will pay for some sort of sexual act to be performed. The act does not have to happen to warrant the charge.

Solicitation of a prostitute is considered a third-degree misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both. However, one of the biggest consequences associated with a solicitation charge is the possibility of a criminal record.

Once a person is convicted of solicitation, the information becomes public record. Future employers, family members, neighbors and spouses can see the criminal history. A conviction could have a long-lasting effect on the social and personal aspects of a person’s life.

Some offenders could be eligible for a diversion program, sometimes referred to as a “John School.” During this program, participants are educated on the dangers of soliciting a prostitute and the health risks associated with participating in sexual activity with a prostitute.

If the program is successfully completed, the offender could have the charges dropped. This could mean avoiding time behind bars and not having a criminal record. However, being accepted into the diversion program can be difficult. The programs often are full and finding space for an offender can be tricky.

If you have been accused of soliciting a prostitute, contact Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900. Our experienced attorneys can help you discretely fight the charges and work to get a favorable outcome. Your reputation is important. Call today.

Solicitation Stings Changing in Ohio, but Alleged Offenders Still Have Options for Defenses

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Law enforcement officers and agencies throughout the country are changing the way in which they target those suspected of prostitution and solicitation. In some instances, agencies even have utilized online solicitation websites to garner arrests and more information into the local prostitution business.

In Ohio, some law enforcement agencies have used the adult entertainment classified site backpage.com to make prostitution-related arrests. According to WHIO, Dayton police officers arrested a man for solicitation after he responded to an advertisement on the website placed by the department’s Vice Crimes Unit.

Police departments long have used sting operations to make prostitution and solicitation arrests. Many times, undercover officers would pose as prostitutes and officers would arrest those who solicit the officer. Now, as technology changes, departments are utilizing the Internet for these decoy solicitation operations.

According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.241, solicitation is defined as knowingly and intentionally attempting to persuade, compel, induce or encourage  someone to participate in sexual activity in order to receive some form of compensation. In these instances, the act does not necessarily have to be committed for the charge to apply.

For instance, if a person is accused of soliciting an undercover officer and suggesting he or she will pay for some sort of sexual act, other officers likely would make the arrest and the act would not occur. Simply offering or attempting to persuade someone is enough for the arrest.

Additionally, the compensation offered does not have to be monetary. For example, a person could be arrested and charged with solicitation if he offers an undercover officer some other type of benefit in exchange for sex. This benefit could be goods, drugs, transportation or any other object.

Solicitation of a prostitute generally is considered a third-degree misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both. However, the biggest consequence associated with a charge for solicitation is the possibility of a criminal record.

Once a person is convicted of solicitation, the information becomes public record. This means future employers, family members and even spouses can see your criminal history. Although the court-issued punishments may seem minor, a conviction could have a long lasting effect on the social and personal aspects of a person’s life.

Some offenders could be eligible for a diversion program, often called a “John School.” During this program, participants are educated on the risks and dangers of soliciting a prostitute and the health risks associated with participating in sexual activity with a prostitute.

Additionally, participants in the program also will hear from former sex workers who have since stopped working as a prostitute. They explain what their lives were like and how they were affected by their former professions. The goal of the program is to decrease the likeliness of the person to re-offend.

If the program is successfully completed, the offender could have the charges against him or her dropped. This could mean avoiding time behind bars and not having a criminal record. However, being accepted into the diversion program can be difficult. The programs often are full and finding space for an offender can be tricky.

A skilled criminal defense attorney can make the difference in your case. Whether it is getting the charges dropped or getting an offender enrolled in a John School, the attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm can help you avoid a damning criminal record. Our law firm is honest with our clients and discrete with their information. No matter your situation, we can help you quietly solve your criminal charges.

If you have been accused of soliciting a prostitute, contact Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900. Our experienced attorneys can help you move on with your life after the allegations. You future is important, and so is protecting your reputation. Call today to schedule a free consultation about your unique case.

Massage Parlor Raids Could Lead to Solicitation for Prostitution Charges

Agents with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force raided four Ohio massage parlors suspected of prostitution last month, resulting in the arrest of two people who now face criminal charges.

Xiao Shuang Chao and Qing Xu, both from Columbus, were arrested, although they denied their involvement in charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and promoting prostitution at Amsun Massage in Powell.  Qing Xu’s sister, Estella Xu, also is accused in the crime.

According to Olentangy Valley News, the three suspects each face one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, which is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, up to $20,000 in fines or both. They each face eight counts of promoting prostitution, a fourth-degree felony which could mean between six and 18 months in prison along with up to $5,000 in fines.

The suspects also are charged with three counts of practice of medicine or surgery without a certificate, a fifth-degree felony carrying up to 12 months in prison, and three counts of money laundering, a third-degree felony which could mean up to five years in prison.

In cases such as this, those who are patrons of the massage businesses could be mistaken for johns who are in search of prostitution. Often times during raids like this handfuls of men and women are arrested and charged with solicitation of a prostitute. This is considered a sex crime in Ohio, and the charge could have serious consequences.

Solicitation of a prostitute  is defined by the Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.241 as knowingly and intentionally attempting to persuade, compel, induce or encourage  someone to participate in sexual activity in order to receive some form of compensation.

The compensation offered or received for the sexual act does not have to be of currency, as most people would think. In solicitation cases, the compensation could be goods, drugs, transportation or any other object or service of monetary value, such as jewelry, clothing or other items.

Additionally, a person can be charged with solicitation even if the person he or she alleged solicited was not a prostitute. For instance, if a massage therapist at a spa alleges a patron solicited her for some sort of sexual activity, he or she still could face criminal charges, no matter if she is a prostitute or not.

This often applies in situations where undercover police officers will impersonate prostitutes in an attempt to lure in those who could potentially be searching for prostitutes. If a person stops and solicits an undercover officer for sexual activity, he or she still could be arrested.

Soliciting prostitution typically is considered a third-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both. However, the social stigma could have a much greater impact on a person’s life.

If the prostitution actually takes place, a person can be charged with compelling prostitution which is a much more serious offense. It is considered a third-degree felony and is punishable by between one and five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.

If the alleged offender compels an individual who is between the ages of 16 and 18 to participate in prostitution, he or she can face second-degree felony charges and be sentenced to between two and eight years in prison, forced to pay a $15,000 fine or both.

Compelling an individual for prostitution who is younger than 16 years old is considered a first-degree felony. This could mean between three and 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.

If you are arrested for soliciting a prostitute or compelling prostitution, it is important you understand the severity of the charges you face and how the allegations could affect the personal and professional aspects of your life.

A Columbus solicitation defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm can be discrete with your case and make sure your rights are protected and represented. Although the arrest is public information, some measures can be taken to ensure this mistake or misunderstanding does not severely disrupt your life. Call 614-444-1900 to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.