Sexual Registration Requirements and Long Lasting Effects of Sending Nude Text Messages for Teenagers and Adults
The age of consent in Ohio, generally speaking, is 16. This means that unless certain circumstances or special relationships exist, such as teacher/student or player/coach, two consenting individuals over the age of 16 can engage in sexual relations and it is perfectly legal. Amazingly, however, juveniles over the age of 16 still run the risk of registering as a sexual offender if they engage in "sexting" as the law has not yet caught up to what is becoming a social norm.
Although Ohio law does not prohibit a 16-year-old or 17-year old from engaging in sexual relations with one another, if they were to send naked pictures to each other or video themselves engaging in sexual relations they would likely run afoul of Ohio's child pornography laws. Our office has seen a number of these cases recently where local high school students freely and willingly exchange naked pictures and then face serious felony charges in juvenile court. Not only are these individuals facing confinement in the Department of Youth Services (essentially juvenile prison) until they are 21, but they are also facing a requirement that they must register as a sexual offender for up to 20 years.
It is ridiculous that in Ohio two 16 year-olds can engage in sexual relations and it be perfectly legal, but if they were to exchange naked pictures then they could be convicted felons and required to register as sexual offenders. Past attempts by the Ohio legislature to remedy this absurdity have stalled with no progress. It is time for Ohio to update its laws to rectify this situation.
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