Ohio’s sex offender registry currently has 18,894 offenders who have been convicted of various levels of sex crimes.
Registered sex offenders in Ohio are required by law to register their home address, work address, and vehicle information with their local sheriff’s office to be publicly accessible through the eSORN database. Each of Ohio’s 88 county sheriff offices input the information into the system. www.ohio.gov.
A 2018 article in the Dayton Daily News, interviewed a male who was convicted in Alabama in 2001 of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl when he was 22, and spent three years in prison. When he was released, he moved to Cincinnati and was required by the state of Ohio to register as a “predator.” Throughout the article he complains about the consequences of his atrocious crime. And he is receiving disability due to depression and anxiety because of housing and employment from being a registered sex offender per his opinion. So, taxpayers are financially paying for the fallout from his heinous crime, while he spends his time running a website advocating to reform Ohio sex offender laws. What is wrong with this picture?
Who are the perpetrators of child sexual abuse? The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 93 percent of child sex abuse is committed by a person whom the child knows. In 47 percent of the cases, the perpetrator is a member of the family. And seven percent of offenses are committed by strangers.
“Abusers can manipulate victims to stay quiet about the sexual abuse using a number of different tactics. Often, an abuser will use their position of power over the victim to coerce or intimidate the child. They might tell the child that the activity is normal or that they enjoyed it. An abuser may make threats if the child refuses to participate or plans to tell another adult,” according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
Do child molesters re-offend by sexually abusing more children after being released from prison? Studies are flawed and do not reflect crimes that are not prosecuted or not reported by victims. Information from studies do not accurately reflect what happens over a longer period of time.
The following classifications are used by Ohio’s system:
Sexual Predator: An individual who has been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, committing a sexually-oriented offense and is considered likely to commit additional sexually oriented offenses. Offenders with this designation are subject to registration/verification requirements for life, unless a judge modifies or terminates the designation. They are subject to neighbor/community notification provisions and reporting requirements at 90-day intervals.
Habitual Sex Offender: An individual who has been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, committing a sexually oriented offense, and who has been previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more sexually oriented offenses. Offenders with this designation are subject to registration/verification requirements each year for a period of 20 years after release. A judge may rule that a habitual sex offender is subject to neighbor/ community notification.
Sexually Oriented Offender: A person who has been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, committing a sexually oriented offense, but who has not been designated as a sexual predator or habitual sex offender. Offenders with this designation are subject to the registration/verification requirements annually for a period of 10 years after release. They are not subject to neighbor/community notification.
Offense tiers used by Ohio are as follows:
Tier I: Importuning; unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, non-consensual and offender less than four years older than victim, not previously convicted of certain offenses; voyeurism; sexual imposition; gross sexual imposition; illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance; child enticement with sexual motivation; pandering obscenity; menacing by stalking with sexual motivation; and unlawful restraint with sexual motivation — this includes an attempt, complicity or conspiracy to commit any of these offenses. Child-victim offenders not in Tier II or Tier III.
Tier II: Compelling prostitution; pandering obscenity involving a minor; pandering sexual oriented material involving a minor; illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance; when offender is at least four years older; or when the offender is less than four years older and has prior conviction for certain other offenses; gross sexual imposition victim under 13; child endangering; kidnapping with sexual motivation; kidnapping victim over 18; and abduction with sexual motivation — any sexual offense that occurs after the offender has been classified as a Tier I offender. This includes an attempt, complicity or conspiracy to commit any of these offenses. Pre-AWA habitual offenders, unless re-classified.
Tier III: Rape; sexual battery; aggravated murder with sexual motivation; murder with sexual motivation; unlawful death or termination of pregnancy as a result of commit- ting or attempting to commit a felony with sexual motivation; kidnapping of minor to engage in sexual activity; kid- napping of minor, not by parent; and felonious assault with sexual motivation. Pre-AWA predators unless re-classified after hearing. Any sexual offense that occurs after the offender is classified as a Tier II or Tier III offender. This includes an attempt, complicity or conspiracy to commit any of these offenses.
The Ohio Sex Offender Registry needs to stay.
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio. Contact her at email@example.com. Martin writes a weekly column published in The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.