COLUMBUS—State Representative Jim Hughes (R-Upper Arlington) recently introduced legislation that would increase the jail term for sexual imposition when the offender has three or more previous convictions of sexual imposition or another sex offence.

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. Additionally, the bill would require the jail term to be served consecutively to any other term.

“Current law is not doing enough to protect the public from serial sexual offenders,” said Rep. Hughes. “House Bill 96 would send a strong message that Ohio is not willing to tolerate this sort of behavior.”

The need for this legislation arose after a serial offender, convicted ten times for approaching women in public places and groping them, assaulted another woman in Columbus five days after being released from jail. After serving six months for the offense, he was released and again assaulted a woman just two days later.

House Bill 96 now awaits a committee designation.

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