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What is Gross Sexual Imposition in Ohio?

What is Gross Sexual Imposition According to Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.05?

Gross Sexual Imposition in Ohio is defined by Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.05. Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.05, no person shall have sexual contact with another, not the spouse of the offender; cause another, not the spouse of the offender, to have sexual contact with the offender; or cause two or more other persons to have sexual contact when any of the following applies:

  • The offender purposely compels the other person, or one of the other persons, to submit by force or threat of force.
  • For the purpose of preventing resistance, the offender substantially impairs the judgment or control of the other person or of one of the other persons by administering any drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to the other person surreptitiously or by force, threat of force, or deception.
  • The offender knows that the judgment or control of the other person or of one of the other persons is substantially impaired as a result of the influence of any drug or intoxicant administered to the other person with the other person's consent for the purpose of any kind of medical or dental examination, treatment, or surgery.
  • The other person, or one of the other persons, is less than thirteen years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of that person.
  • The ability of the other person to resist or consent or the ability of one of the other persons to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age, and the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the ability to resist or consent of the other person or of one of the other persons is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age.

Subsection (B) of Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.05 states, no person shall knowingly touch the genitalia of another, when the touching is not through clothing, the other person is less than twelve years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of that person, and the touching is done with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

What Does This Mean?

Written more simply, Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.05 states that a person may be convicted of Gross Sexual Imposition in Ohio if an offender engages in sexual contact with another person without their consent or causes two or more people to engage in sexual contact with each other without their consent.

What is Sexual Contact?

Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.01 defines sexual contact as any touching of an erogenous zone of another, including without limitation the thigh, genitals, buttock, pubic region, or, if the person is a female, a breast, for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person.

Does a Victim Need to Prove Anything at Trial?

According to Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.05(D), a victim does not need to prove physical resistance to the offender in prosecutions under this section. This means that the State of Ohio does not need to prove that the victim tried to fight back in order prosecute someone of Gross Sexual Imposition in Ohio.

What Happens at Trial For Gross Sexual Imposition in Ohio?

Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.05 discusses the admissibility of evidence in Gross Sexual Imposition cases in Ohio, as well as the rights of the victim. 

Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.05(E) states that, “Evidence of specific instances of the victim’s sexual activity, opinion evidence of the victim’s sexual activity, and reputation evidence of the victim’s sexual activity shall not be admitted under this section unless it involves evidence of the origin of semen, pregnancy, or disease, or the victim’s past sexual activity with the offender, and only to the extent that the court finds that the evidence is material to a fact at issue in the case and that its inflammatory or prejudicial nature does not outweigh its probative value. Evidence of specific instances of the defendant’s sexual activity, opinion evidence of the defendant’s sexual activity, and reputation evidence of the defendant’s sexual activity shall not be admitted under this section unless it involves evidence of the origin of semen, pregnancy, or disease, the defendant’s past sexual activity with the victim, or is admissible against the defendant under section 2945.59 of the Revised Code, and only to the extent that the court finds that the evidence is material to a fact at issue in the case and that its inflammatory or prejudicial nature does not outweigh its probative value.”

This means that, at trial, neither the State of Ohio, nor the defense can produce evidence of the offender or the victim’s past sexual history unless it is used to prove the origin of disease, pregnancy, semen, or a past sexual relationship between the victim and the offender. This is commonly referred to as Ohio’s Rape Shield Law. The purpose of this law is to avoid situations wherein the accused uses a victim’s sexual promiscuity as a defense, or the State uses the accused sexual promiscuity to suggest they are more likely to commit Gross Sexual Imposition.

If evidence of prior sexual history is intended to be used during a Gross Sexual Imposition trial in Ohio, Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.05(F) states that, “prior to taking testimony or receiving evidence of any sexual activity of the victim or the defendant in a proceeding under this section, the court shall resolve the admissibility of the proposed evidence in a hearing in chambers, which shall be held at or before preliminary hearing and not less than three days before trial, or for good cause shown during the trial.” This means that any evidence of prior sexual activity must be approved by the court, outside the presence of the jury, before it is allowed to be presented to the jury.

Does a Victim Have Any Rights Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.05?

Yes. Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.05(G) states, “upon approval by the court, the victim may be represented by counsel in any hearing in chambers or other proceeding to resolve the admissibility of evidence. If the victim is indigent or otherwise is unable to obtain the services of counsel, the court, upon request, may appoint counsel to represent the victim without cost to the victim.” This means that the court can allow the victim to be represented by an attorney in matters related to the admissibility of evidence. The court may also appoint an attorney if the victim cannot afford one themselves.

What Are The Penalties For Gross Sexual Imposition in Ohio?

The penalties for Gross Sexual Imposition in Ohio vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense.

  • Generally, Gross Sexual Imposition is a felony of the fourth degree, which is punishable by a term of imprisonment of 6 to 18 months and/or up to a $5,000.00 fine. In addition, the offender will be classified as a Tier I sex-offender and will be required to register every 12 months for 15 years.
  • If the victim is under the age of 13, or if the offender used sedatives, alcohol, or other substances in the commission of the offense, Gross Sexual Imposition is a felony of the third degree, which is punishable by a term of imprisonment of 9 to 60 months and/or up to a $10,000.00 fine. In addition, if the victim is younger than 13 years old, the offender will be classified as a Tier II sex-offender and will be required to register every 180 days for 25 years. If the victim is younger than 12 years old, the offender will be classified as a Tier III sex-offender and will be required to register every 90 days for life.

What to do if You Are Accused of Gross Sexual Imposition in Ohio

Being accused of Gross Sexual Imposition in Ohio carries significant consequences and can have an extreme effect on one’s life, regardless of whether they are convicted or not. If you, or someone you know has been accused of Gross Sexual Imposition in Ohio, it is recommended that you contact a criminal defense attorney who has specific knowledge and experience handling Gross Sexual Imposition cases in Ohio. It is important to speak to an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney before speaking to anyone about the allegations, as anything you say can and will likely be used against you, even if the statement is not made to law enforcement.

An experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney will be able to discuss your case and the allegations against you, help you gather evidence that may be beneficial for your defense, give advice on how to speak and act around loved ones who know about the accusations, and make sure that you are treated properly throughout any investigation or proceeding. If you are contacted by law enforcement, it is never recommended to make a statement. Instead, be polite but respectfully decline answering any questions. Immediately, contact an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney. 

At Friedman Nemecek & Long, L.L.C., our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys have travelled all across the State of Ohio representing individuals facing criminal investigations or charges related to Gross Sexual Imposition allegations. Our lawyers stay abreast of the constant changes in legislation and/or court cases to ensure that our clients receive the most comprehensive and effective representation available. If you have questions regarding such matters, or you have been subjected to, or accused of, Gross Sexual Imposition or other sexual misconduct, please call the law firm of Friedman Nemecek, & Long, L.L.C., at (888) 694-4645 for an initial consultation. For more information about the law firm, you can also visit www.fanlegal.com.

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