Over the past 25 years, I have represented hundreds of people charged with sexual assault at the trial and appellate level and believe that zealous and aggressive representation by an experienced lawyer leads to the best result for the client. Ohio law in this area is complex with many nuances and each case is very fact specific. Set forth below is a brief summary of the relevant law as to sexual assault crimes in this state.
Rape, a violation of R.C. § 2907.02, is the most serious of these sex offenses and is a felony of the first degree. Sentences for rape are serious and focus upon the age of the victim and the amount of force used during the offense. One of the key issues in rape cases is the defense of consent, i.e. did the alleged victim consent to the sexual encounter of was force used.
R.C. § 2907.02(A)(1)(a) focuses upon the issue of consent and prohibits an individual from engaging in “sexual conduct” with another whose ability to resist is substantially impaired due to the offender administering any drug or intoxicant. This section deals with the issue of date rape drugs like “roofies” GHB, and Ketamine (called Special K). Ohio law also prohibits sexual conduct when the victim is substantially impaired due to voluntary intoxication because said person cannot give consent. This issue often arises on college campuses and can result not only in felony charges but also expulsion hearings.
Gross sexual imposition (G.S.I.) is a violation of R.C. § 2907.05 and can be a felony of the third of fourth degree depending on the age of the victim and if force was used. G.S.I. differs from rape in that the offense prohibits sexual contact, i.e. a touching, rather than sexual conduct which is defined in R.C. § 2907.01(A).
Sexual battery is defined in R.C. § 2907.03 and prohibits sexual relations between an adult an someone with whom the offender is in “loco parentis,” i.e. has a position of authority or control over or is placed in a supervisory position. For example, sexual battery is often charged when school teachers, coaches, youth pastors, or counselors/therapists have sexual relations with someone they are supervising or have authority over. Sexual battery is a serious offense and the offender faces the likelihood of prison because implied in the offense is a violation of public trust, in that, the perception is that the offender took advantage of a supervisory position he has over the victim.
All sexual assault cases are serious matters with the potential of significant time in prison. Each case is very fact specific and the law constantly changes with regard to Constitutional matters like the right to confrontation, cross-examination, and sexual offender reporting requirements. Law enforcement that investigate these cases follow the motto: the ends justify the means; meaning, if they (the police) believe the victim has been assaulted, then any action to trick or coerce the accused into an admission is justified.
No person should speak with the police without first consulting with an experienced attorney. If you have been charged with a sexual assault related crime, call criminal defense attorney Joe Edwards at 614-309-0243 for more information.
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