Ohio Sex Offender Records

What is a Sex Offender?

The term “sex offender” is a generic term for persons convicted of sex crimes. Sex offenses in the State of Ohio include rape, indecent exposure, solicitation, and more. Ohio State Courts have the responsibility of interpreting the state laws that relate to sex offenses and punish offenders. Punishments for sex offenses range from prison sentences to fines. More so, convicted sex offenders may also have to register their details in the relevant state agencies to enable law enforcement to put the public on notice.

A sex offense conviction may result in severe social stigma and life-altering consequences on such an offender. The common examples are the registration requirements and community notification of a convicted sex offender. Also, these sex offenders are not allowed to live or come around certain areas. The purpose of notifying the public on the identity and location of a sex offender is to protect members of the public and not to harass or intimidate the convict.

Who is Considered a Sex Offender in Ohio?

The Ohio Revised Code in Section 2950.01 defined a sex offender as a person convicted of or one who pleads guilty to committing a sexually oriented offense. The section further describes a sexually oriented offense as a violation of any of the offenses listed in the code as such. Under the code, the term ‘sex offender’ does not apply to a person that engages in consensual sexual conduct or contact with another person who is 18 or older and not under the custodial authority of the other person.

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses in Ohio?

The Ohio Revised Code provides for sex offenses and prescribes punishments and penalties for these offenses. Some of the offenses which can impose the tag of ‘sex offender’ on a person upon successful conviction, as provided for in the code, are:

Rape: In the State of Ohio, and under OH Rev Code § 2907.02, it is an offense for a perpetrator to engage in acts of sexual conduct with another person who is not the spouse of that culprit. If the victim is the spouse of the culprit, and both parties are living apart from each other, it may also be considered rape. The offense of rape is said to occur in the State of Ohio under the following circumstances:

  • Where the perpetrator administers a drug, intoxicant, or a controlled substance on the victim, using force, threat, or deception, to impair the victim’s judgment or ability to resist
  • Where the victim is less than 13 years old, and it is immaterial whether the perpetrator knew or not.
  • Where the victim cannot consent or resist due to a mental or physical condition or even due to age, and the perpetrator knows or has reasonable cause to believe so
  • Where the perpetrator purposely compels the victim to submit by force or threat of force

A violation of this section makes a perpetrator guilty of rape under Ohio law, which classifies the offense as a felony in the first degree. The victim need not prove any resistance for a charge to fly under this section, and it is not a defense that the perpetrator and victim were married or cohabiting at the time of the commission of the crime.

Sexual Battery: Under 2907.03, the offense of sexual battery occurs where a perpetrator engages in acts of sexual conduct with another person who is not the spouse of the perpetrator and under the following circumstances:

  • Where the perpetrator knowingly coerces the victim to submit by any means that would prevent resistance in an ordinary person
  • Where the perpetrator knows that the victim’s ability to appraise or control the conduct is substantially impaired
  • Where the perpetrator knows that the victim’s submission is because the victim is unaware of the act
  • Where the perpetrator knows that the victim submits because the victim mistakes the perpetrator to be the spouse of the victim
  • Where the perpetrator is the natural parent, adoptive parent, stepparent, guardian, custodian, or person in loco parentis of the victim
  • Where the victim is in the custody of the law or a patient of a hospital or other institution where the perpetrator has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim
  • Where the perpetrator is a teacher, administrator, coach, or any other staff of a school and the victim does not attend the school.
  • Where the victim of the act is a minor and the perpetrator is a teacher, administrator, coach, or other staff in a school where the victim attends
  • Where the victim of the act is a minor and the perpetrator is the victim’s coach, instructor, or leader of a scouting troop to which the victim belongs, or the perpetrator is someone with temporary or occasional disciplinary control over the victim.
  • Where the perpetrator is a mental health professional and the victim is a client who the perpetrator induces to submit to the act by falsely representing that the sexual conduct is necessary for the mental health treatment reasons.
  • Where the victim of the act is confined in a detention facility and the perpetrator is an employee in the detention facility.
  • Where the victim of the act is a minor and the perpetrator is a cleric, and the victim is a member of the church and congregation.

A perpetrator that violates this section is guilty of sexual battery, and in Ohio, it is a third-degree felony. Where the victim is below 13, the sexual battery is a felony in the third degree.

Unlawful Sexual Conduct With A Minor: Section 2907.04 covers this offense and describes it as where a perpetrator who is below the age of 18 or older engages in sexual conduct with a victim who is not the spouse of the perpetrator, and the perpetrator knows that the victim is about 13 or older but below 16 and the perpetrator is reckless about it. When a perpetrator violates a provision of this section, such a perpetrator is guilty of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and it is a fourth-degree felony.

If the perpetrator is less than four years older than the victim, it is a first-degree misdemeanor. If the perpetrator is ten or more years older than the victim, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a third-degree felony. Where the perpetrator has a prior conviction for a similar offense, it is a second-degree felony.

Gross Sexual Imposition: Under Section 2907.05, gross sexual imposition occurs where a perpetrator has sexual contact with a victim who is not the spouse of the perpetrator or causes two or more persons to have sexual contact under the following conditions:

  • Where the perpetrator compels the victim to submit by force or threat of force
  • Where the perpetrator uses a drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to prevent resistance from the victim
  • Where the perpetrator knows that the judgment of the victim is impaired due to the influence of a drug or intoxicant administered without the consent of the victim
  • Where the victim is not up to 13 years, whether the perpetrator knows or not
  • Where the victim cannot resist due to a mental or physical condition
  • Where the perpetrator knowingly touches the genitalia of the victim and not through clothing. And the touching intends to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the perpetrator. In this case, the victim is below 12, and it doesn't matter whether the victim is aware.

A perpetrator that commits this offense is guilty of gross sexual imposition, which is a fourth-degree felony.

Sexual Imposition: Section 2907.06 provides for this offense and defines the act of sexual imposition as where a perpetrator has sexual contact with a victim who is not the spouse of the perpetrator or causing two or more persons to have sexual contact in the following circumstances:

  • Where the offender knows that the sexual contact is offensive to the victim or one of the other persons
  • Where the perpetrator knows that the victim or other persons submit because such victims are not aware of the sexual contact
  • Where the victim is 13 years old or older but below 16 and the perpetrator is at least 18 and four or more years older than the victim. It is immaterial that the perpetrator is unaware of the victim’s age.
  • Where the perpetrator is a mental health professional and the victim is a client or patient, and the perpetrator induces the sexual act by falsely representing to the patient that such sexual contact is necessary for treatment purposes.

A violation of this section is a 3rd-degree misdemeanor in Ohio which rises to a first-degree misdemeanor where the perpetrator has a previous conviction for a similar offense.

Importuning: Under section 2907.07, a perpetrator commits the crime of importuning under the following circumstances:

  • Where the person solicits a minor under 13 to engage in sexual activity with the perpetrator whether the perpetrator knows the age of the minor or not.
  • Where the perpetrator is 18 or older and four or more years older than the victim who is 13 or older but less than 16. Here also, it is immaterial that the perpetrator did not know the age of the minor
  • Where the perpetrator, who is 18 or older, uses a telecommunications device to engage in sexual activity with the victim
  • Where the victim is a law enforcement officer posing as a minor below, and the perpetrator believes such a person to be truly 13 and is reckless in that regard
  • Where the perpetrator is four or more years older than the victim who is 13 or older but less than 16, and the perpetrator is reckless in that regard.
  • Where a law enforcement officer poses as a minor that is 13 or older but less than 16, and the perpetrator believes the purported age but remained reckless.

In Ohio, importuning is a third-degree felony where it is the first offense. Where the perpetrator has a prior conviction for a sexual crime, it becomes a second-degree felony.

Voyeurism: Under section 2907.08, the offense of voyeurism occurs in the following circumstances:

  • Where a perpetrator commits trespass or invades the privacy of another, to spy or eavesdrop for purposes of sexual arousal
  • Where the invasion of privacy is to videotape, film, or record the victim in a state of nudity and the victim is a minor
  • Where a perpetrator secretly records a victim through or under the clothing of the victim for purposes of viewing the body or undergarments of the victim

In Ohio, voyeurism is a misdemeanor in the first, second, or third-degree, depending on the circumstances. Where the victim is a minor, it becomes a fifth-degree felony.

Public Indecency: Section 2907.09 describes public indecency as a crime that occurs when a perpetrator carries out certain sexual-related acts in the presence of non-family members. Public indecency in Ohio occurs where:

  • A perpetrator exposes the perpetrator’s private parts
  • A perpetrator engages in masturbation or sexual conduct
  • A perpetrator engages in an act that will appear to an ordinary observer to be sexual
  • A perpetrator exposes the private parts of the perpetrator for sexual gratification, arousal, or to lure a minor into sexual activity

Public indecency in Ohio is a misdemeanor with varying degrees, depending on the circumstances of the offense.

Procuring: Under section 2907.23, a perpetrator commits the offense of procuring, where:

  • The perpetrator entices or solicits a person to patronize a brothel or prostitute.
  • The perpetrator procures, directs, or takes a person to a place to patronize a prostitute at that person’s request.
  • A person in authority or responsibility of managing a premise knowingly permits the premises to be used for sexual activity for hire.

A violation of this section in Ohio is a first-degree misdemeanor.

What Types of Sex Offenders Exist in Ohio?

Sex offender classification is a system that the government uses to track persons convicted of certain crimes. It is based on the belief that these individuals may pose risks to members of the public and communities where these individuals live. The State of Ohio uses a tier system for the classification of sex offenders, based on the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act which uses an offense-based sex offender classification. In Ohio, the three tiers of sex offender classification are:

Tier One Sex Offenders: The tier-one classification of sex offenders refers to offenders that are considered low risk in the state. Sex offenses that fall within this category include importuning, voyeurism, sexual imposition, gross sexual imposition, etc. These offenders must register in the State of Ohio once a year for 15 years.

Tier Two Sex Offenders: The tier two sex offender classification in Ohio refers to medium-risk offenders. These persons include perpetrators of acts like compelling prostitution, child endangering, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, etc. Sex offenders that fall within this category must register every 180 days for 25 years.

Tier Three Sex Offenders: The tier three category of sex offenders in Ohio are high-risk offenders, often dangerous, and are likely to re-offend again. Such offenders include persons who commit offenses of rape, sexual battery, aggravated murder with sexual motivation, murder with sexual motivation, felonious assault with sexual motivation, etc. Ohio state law requires these offenders to register every 90 days for life.

How to Find a Sex Offender Near Me in Ohio

Chapter 2950 of the Ohio Revised Code governs the registration, classification, and publication of sex offender information in the state. Section 2950.13 of the code mandates the Ohio Attorney General to establish and maintain a registry of sex offenders. The Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation houses this registry that contains information on the registration, change of address, school, and other relevant details of sex offenders in the state. The registry serves as one way to find sex offender information in the state. However, under section 2950.08, only the following category of persons may access it:

  • Law enforcement or other peace officers
  • An employee of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation
  • The registrar or an employee in the Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Under Section 2950.081, county Sheriffs also maintain sex offender records and regard them as public documents open to public inspection and are included in an internet sex offender and child-victim offender database. Interested individuals may find relevant sex offender information on the database.

Interested members of the public may also obtain public record information from third-party websites. These privately owned sites typically host data culled from public databases and repositories. However, the information available on third-party sites may vary since they are independent of government sources. In order to use a third-party site, record seekers may be required to provide all or some of the following information:

  • The full name on the record of choice
  • The last known or current address of the named individual
  • The address of the requestor

What Happens When You Register as a Sex Offender in Ohio?

Section 2950.03 mandates all persons convicted of a sexually oriented offense or a child-victim oriented offense to register and provide notice of the change and verify address periodically. Such an offender may not live within 1000 feet of any school premises, including preschool or daycare centers. Where an offender violates this section, the property owner or any other person with jurisdiction over that place may bring an action for injunctive relief against the offender.

The registration information of convicted sex offenders in Ohio includes the following:

  • The name of the convicted sex offender or known aliases
  • The Social Security Number and date of birth of the sex offender
  • The driver’s license number of the convicted sex offender

The sex offender must register within 30 days of entering a county and ten days of an address change. Local sheriffs may also carry out community notification, putting the occupants of the building where the sex offender will live on notice. The sheriffs may also notify schools in the area. In Ohio, only tier three sex offenders are subject to community notification.

What is the Ohio Sex Offender Registry?

The Ohio sex offender registry is a public database that contains information on convicted sexual offenders, predators, and child-victim offenders. Details included in the registry are accessible to the general public and obtainable online and offline. The public can access several offender details, including names, physical descriptions, addresses, offense information, and photographs. According to Section 2950.04 of the Ohio Revised Code, a person convicted of a sexually oriented offense must personally register with the sheriff or the sheriff's designee in the county of conviction. Depending on the crime, sex offenders are registered for 15 years, 20 years, or for life.

Who Runs the Ohio Sex Offender Registry?

The state's sex offender registry is operated by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), a division of the Ohio Attorney General's Office. The information displayed on the state's sex offender registry is a pool of details received from all the sheriff's offices in the state's 88 counties. The Ohio sex offender registry is also regularly updated. According to Section 2950.03(A), all convicted sex offenders must notify relevant sheriff's offices when there is a change in their addresses, schooling information, or employment details.

Who Can View the Ohio Sex Offender Registry?

All interested persons can view the Ohio sex offender registry. Anyone with identifying information on an offender can use the registry's offender search to find public details on registered offenders. While the available information is considered public, some details are exempt from the registry by law. In compliance with Section 2950.13(11), the Bureau of Criminal Investigation's database does not include the offender's social security number, the name of each offender's school attended, place of employment, and other sensitive details. The identity of the offender's victim is also considered confidential and should not be publicly available on the registry.

What are the Sex Offender Laws in Ohio?

Ohio has laws that serve as the backdrop for handling sex offenses committed in the state. These laws have varying requirements, including the registration, profile updates, classification, and general oversight of convicted offenders. Ohio sex laws include the following:

  • Ohio Sex Offender Registration and Notification Law (SORN Law)
  • Nicole's Law

What is Ohio's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Law (SORN Law)

The SORN Law, Section 2950 of the Ohio Revised Code, provides a framework for sex offender information in the state. It creates levels according to crime categories, mandates sex offender registration, prescribes jail terms, and specifies penalties for offenders who do not keep up with registration requirements. The SORN Law also ensures that all sheriff's offices create and maintain public records of registered sex offenders. The information on these records is used to notify victims and related institutions in the community whenever a sex offender registers nearby.

The Tier system of classifying sex offenders is from the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, signed into law in July, 2006. It was named after six-year-old Adam Walsh, who was kidnapped from a department store in Florida and found dead more than two weeks later. In 2007, Ohio adopted the standards provided by the Adam Walsh Act and repealed its version of the previously implemented Megan's Law. Provisions obtainable under Megan's Law were widely debated in Ohio, leading to its revocation. For instance, Ohio's version of Megan's Law did not require convicted juveniles to register as sex offenders.

What is Nicole's Law?

Nicole's Law ensures harsher sentences for repeat sex offenders convicted of crimes of indecent exposure. Under this law, repeat offenders are sentenced to longer jail terms. The law is named after Nicole Robertson, a nine-year-old female victim of an Ohio repeat offender who exposed himself to her at a department store.

How Long Do Sex Offenders Have to Register in Ohio?

Ohio law mandates sex offender registration for a minimum of 15 years. Depending on the offender's crime and classification, convicted persons may also be registered for 20 years or for life. Each classification also has varying requirements in addition to their individual registration periods.

Note: Registration requirements may differ if the conviction is for a federal sex crime, such as federal child pornography. Such persons may be required to register or correspond with federal probation personnel or other federal law enforcement.

Can a Sex Offender Live With Their Family in Ohio?

Ohio sex offenders can live with their families. The state does not prevent sex offenders from living with loved ones as long as this does not violate any other residency restrictions stipulated by law.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Notify Neighbors in Ohio?

Ohio law does not require sex offenders to inform neighbors of their status. Offenders are only required to register at the sheriff's office in their county of residence. However, if the offender is classified as Tier 3, the sheriff's office sends mail notifications to all neighbors who live within 1,000 feet of the sex offender's residence. The sheriff's office's notification includes the offender's photograph, address, identifying details, and conviction information. Neighbors are also advised on how to report suspicious activity related to registered sex offenders.

In addition, authorities may send official community notifications to certain related parties in the offender's jurisdiction. Concerned authorities may include officials in school districts, school authorities, child centers, day-care centers, colleges, higher education institutions, and children services agencies. The notification contains the same information received by neighbors within 1,000 feet of the offender's residence.

Although the sheriff's notification is not required for Tier 1 and Tier 2 offenders, all Ohio residents can find registered sex offenders in their neighborhoods using the area search on the sex offender registry. Residents can search by address, city, zip code, and zip plus.

In some cases, notifications may be more stringent. For example, a court may order the sheriff's office to notify victims and adjacent neighbors of habitual sex offenders and sexual predators within 72 hours of registration. Ohio sex offenders are also required to register within seven days before residing in a county. In addition, offenders must register in an area when visiting for more than seven days.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Put Up a Sign in Their Yard in Ohio?

Sex offenders in Ohio do not have to put up yard signs. Apart from the required notification of neighbors for Tier 3 sex offenders by the Sheriff's Office, there are no other requirements regarding public neighborhood announcements of sex offenders' residential locations.

How Close Can a Sex Offender Live to a School in Ohio?

All Ohio sex offenders must keep their distance from schools and child day-care centers. Ohio law states that convicted persons must not reside anywhere within 1,000 feet of any school or child day-care center. In some municipalities, the minimum distance may be expanded.

This provision covers all sex offenses, whether or not a child was involved. The law also allows all real property owners, lessees, and several other entities, to seek injunctive relief against persons who violate this rule without having to prove irreparable harm. However, violating this rule is considered a civil matter and not a criminal offense.

In Ohio, a landlord cannot deny rent to a convicted applicant simply because of their conviction. For denial to be valid, the landlord must prove that the applicant poses other risks in addition to their sex offender registration status. However, a landlord can terminate the rental agreement of a tenant who provides occupancy to a registered sex offender if the residence is within 1,000 feet of a school or child day-care center. Nevertheless, if a landlord decides not to terminate such an agreement, the landlord is not liable for any damages, loss, or injury that results from that decision.

Can You Expunge a Sex Offender Charge in Ohio?

Under Ohio law, some sex offenses are eligible for expungement. In October 2018, Ohio introduced Senate Bill 66, expanding the number of convictions eligible for sealing or expungement. The bill states that sex offenders with up to five felony offenses and an unlimited number of misdemeanor offenses are eligible. However, some conditions, including the following, must apply:

  • None of the crimes is a violent sex offense
  • None of the crimes is a felony sex offense
  • All the crimes are misdemeanor offenses, fourth-degree felonies, or fifth-degree felonies
  • The maximum allowance of five eligible felonies includes a total of the offender's convictions from all states
  • Convictions from other states meet conditions stipulated by Ohio law

Previously, Ohio law only allowed convicted sex offenders to apply for expungement for one felony conviction, one felony and one misdemeanor conviction, or a total of two misdemeanor convictions. This requirement is still in place, and applies to sex offenders who do not meet the above conditions for expungement under Senate Bill 66. Persons who qualify under the new law must adhere to the following waiting periods before applying:

  • 1 year for misdemeanor convictions
  • 3 years for 1 felony conviction after final discharge
  • 4 years for 2 felony convictions after final discharge
  • 5 years for 5 felony convictions after final discharge

For persons with a combination of felony and misdemeanor convictions, waiting periods may be up to 5 years depending on the specific offenses.

The following sex offenses are not eligible for expungement in Ohio:

  • Rape
  • Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor
  • Sexual battery
  • Sexual imposition
  • Gross sexual imposition
  • Pandering obscenity where minor is involved
  • Illegal use of minor in nudity-oriented performance or material
  • Pandering sexually oriented matter where minor is involved

In addition, if the offender has a felony sex offense in their history, even if the offense to be expunged is not a felony sex offense, the offender is not eligible for expungement under Senate Bill 66. However, the person could still be eligible under previous Ohio expungement laws.

Several sex offenses are eligible for expungement under Senate Bill 66 or previous laws, if other conditions are met. However, if the offenses are committed against victims under the age of 18, these offenses become ineligible. Examples include the following:

  • Public indecency
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Voyeurism
  • Promoting prostitution
  • Disseminating, delivering, or providing materials obscene or harmful to juveniles
  • Pandering obscenity
  • Solicitation or enticement to patronize a prostitute
  • Solicitation or enticement to procure a prostitute for another person
  • Deception to obtain material or gain admission to performance considered harmful to juveniles
  • All first-degree felony or misdemeanor sex crimes committed against a victim under 16 years old

Generally, an offender may be convicted of a sex offense ineligible for expungement under one law. However, this does not preclude the expungement of another sex offense if eligible under another law.

How to Look Up Sex Offenders in Ohio

The Ohio sex offender registry is the state's official repository of registered sex offenders. The database contains details of all registered sex offenders in the state, with data pooled from sex offender registries in sheriff's offices across all counties. Personal identifying information, such as names, offense details, and physical descriptions, are available. However, supplemental information, including phone numbers, email addresses, and screen names, is not public information.

Although supplemental information is not public, interested searchers can use the registry's reverse lookup feature to find sex offenders. The search screen will display an alert if the inputted information is linked to a registered sex offender. The display will only confirm that a link exists between the inputted data and a registered sex offender. The registry will not publicly identify the sex offender registered with that information. Searchers will be directed to contact the relevant sheriff's office or the Bureau of Criminal Investigation for more information. Either entity will then decide whether or not to release the desired details. Interested persons can search the Ohio sex offender registry by area, name, and city.

Ohio Sex Offender Name Search

All persons can find sex offenders by entering the last name, a first name, or an alias. Requesters should note that the search result page will display complete and partial matches.

Ohio Sex Offender Address Search

Using the address search, requestors must input an address, city, and zip code. An optional zip plus search is also available on the address search page. Furthermore, parties may specify what type of address is entered. Available address type options include home, work/volunteer, school, and other addresses.

Ohio Sex Offender City Search

Interested persons may also use this option by entering any Ohio city. The result displays a list of all registered offenders in that city, including their personal details and tier classifications.

In addition to the name, address, and city search options, residents can view a list of non-compliant sex offenders in Ohio.

Is Public Urination a Sex Offense in Ohio?

Public urination is illegal in Ohio. Section 2907.09 states that anyone who recklessly exposes their private parts in a way likely to be viewed by others not in the person's household could be charged with a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. However, while most instances of public urination are violations of public indecency laws, not all instances may qualify as a sex offense.

Public indecency may be considered a sex offense if the offender exposes their private parts for personal gratification, arousal, or to lure a minor into sexual activity. A conviction means that the perpetrator will be classified a Tier 1 sex offender and must register every year for up to 15 years.

What is Indecent Exposure in Ohio?

According to state law, indecent exposure, or public indecency, is recklessly and publicly partaking in any of the following acts, where non-household members may be in view:

  • Exposing private parts
  • Masturbating
  • Engaging in any sexual conduct
  • Engaging in any conduct that would appear to an ordinary observer as sexual conduct or masturbation
  • Exposing private parts to entice a minor into sexual activity

How to Report a Sex Offender in Ohio

Any member of the public that notices suspicious activity from a registered sex offender or another person, should report to relevant law enforcement agencies, including the city police, town police, or the county sheriff's office. Concerned persons may also contact the closest branch of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) or the main office at:

Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI)
1560 State Route 56 SW
P.O. Box 365
London, OH 43140
Phone: (855) BCI-OHIO - (855) 224-6446
Phone: (740) 845-2000
Email: BCI@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov

Ohio has strict sex offender registration laws. The state ties an offender's failure to register to the original sex crime committed and determines penalties in the same way. For instance, if a sex offender fails to register after conviction for a first-degree felony, the offender risks going to prison for a term equivalent to a first-degree felony offense. Depending on each case, the court could also punish erring sex offenders with penalties more severe than the classification of their initial offense.