In July of last year, a daycare worker in nearby Troy was arrested and charged with gross sexual imposition. Because of his crime, his employers were forced to surrender their license to operate a childcare facility.

Even though this charge doesn’t require the action of penetrative sex, a conviction for it can devastate your life. Significant time behind bars, steep fines, and the requirement to register as a sex offender are merely tips of the iceberg for a conviction.

If you’re facing allegations of gross sexual imposition – even if you’re being falsely accused – you need the expertise of a skilled Ohio criminal defense attorney. There’s just too much at stake.

How is Gross Sexual Imposition Defined?

This is important to know because there is a difference between sexual imposition and gross sexual imposition. 

Under Ohio state laws, you could be charged with sexual imposition if you’re alleged to have unwanted sexual contact with someone else and:

  • You’re at least 18 and four years older than the accuser
  • Your accuser is older than 13 but still younger than 16
  • You knew the person was unable to deflect your actions.

Here’s what takes the charges to the next level. The qualifications for the charge to jump to gross sexual imposition include:

  • The alleged victim is 13 years old or younger
  • You forced your actions on the alleged victim
  • You prevented the alleged victim from resisting in any way
  • You knew of a mental or physical condition that prevented the alleged victim to resist of give consent
  • You touched the genitals of someone 12 years old or younger.  

In addition to the age restriction, practically any form of unwanted sexual act can form the basis for secual imposition charges.

What Are the Penalties for Gross Sexual Imposition In Ohio?

Like all other sex crimes, this is very serious business. Although sexual imposition is typically treated as a first-degree misdemeanor, convictions for gross sexual imposition are an entirely different ballgame.

If convicted, you could be facing a third-degree felony and:

  • 18 months (1.5 years) in prison
  • $5,000 in fines
  • Required registry with the sex offender database.

In extreme cases, the charges could be treated as a third-degree felony, which could lead to up to five years in jail. 

What Happens If I’m On the Sex Offender Database?

This is definitely not a list you want to be on. While many people facing such charges focus on the possible jail time and fines, the requirement to register on the sex offender database is just as devastating.

  • Each state has its own list, and no matter where you move in the country, you’ll have to re-register on that state’s list.
  • You’ll be limited in where you can live because most states will not allow registered sex offenders to live near schools, daycare centers, playgrounds, or parks.
  • Your information will be available to practically anyone with an internet connection; making you a virtual outcast from society.
  • Finding employment will be challenging because of background checks.
  • If you’re a parent, the state may prohibit you from enjoying custody of your child.

If you think you’ll skate by simply not registering on the list as mandated, think again. Once you’re caught, the failure to immediately register will be treated as the highest level of the original conviction.

For example, if you were convicted of a fourth-degree felony, failing to register on the sex offender list could catapult you to a third-degree felony with more time in jail.

Are There Successful Defense Strategies for Gross Sexual Imposition Charges?

Sadly, it’s not unusual for innocent people to face such charges. Because the accusations pack such a powerful punch, many people are crippled with a feeling of hopelessness when they’re made.

Thankfully, you do not have to face the charges alone – nor should you. 

  • Has the statute of limitations expired? This is important because the law protects you from having to defend yourself from accusations of sex crimes that supposedly occurred 20 or more years ago. The rationale behind this is that evidence could be misinterpreted.
  • What’s the motivation of the accuser? This is no time to be polite; your reputation is at stake. Since sex crimes like this are often based upon the word of the person making the claim, you have every right to compile evidence that casts reasonable doubt on their claims.
  • Was evidence obtained legally? If law enforcement did not follow protocol in collecting evidence (photos, texts, etc.) to be used against you, your lawyer can move to have it suppressed or withheld from the court. 

The key takeaway is that you need to take the necessary actions to safeguard your reputation and your future from such accusations. The most effective way to do that is to team up with a criminal defense attorney who has successful experience in defending against sex crimes.