COLUMBUS—State Representative Jim Hughes (R-Upper Arlington) today announced House passage of legislation he sponsored that would increase the jail time for sexual imposition when the offender has three or more previous convictions of sexual imposition or another qualifying sex offense.

The need for this legislation arose after a serial offender, arrested ten times for approaching women in public places and groping them, assaulted another woman in Columbus five days after being released from jail.

Substitute House Bill 96 adds a third penalty tier to the offense of sexual imposition, which is generally a third degree misdemeanor for first-time offenders, punishable with no more than 60 days in jail. However, under the legislation, offenders who have previously been convicted of three or more qualifying sex offenses can be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, punishable with up to a year of jail time. Qualifying sexual offenses include: sexual imposition, rape, sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and gross sexual imposition.

“Protecting Ohio’s citizens from unwanted and unprovoked touching or groping by repeat offenders should be a priority for all of us,” said Rep. Hughes. “This legislation will help ensure that these offenders are off our streets and unable to attack innocent victims.”

In response to a parallel issue, the substitute bill also increases the penalty for disorderly conduct involving involuntary intoxication when the offender has previously been convicted of the offense three or more times.

Substitute House Bill 96 passed with bipartisan support and now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

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