In 2012, a police officer met a 14-year-old boy by using an app designed for hooking up. He then engaged in sexual activity with the boy and was caught by the teen's mother. The police officer was 35 years old.
It is illegal for adults to have sex with minors in Ohio, but the boy had allegedly lied and said he was 18, so the court couldn't decide if the officer -- who had not told the boy his line of work -- should be convicted for a crime. However, another law made it expressly illegal for police officers and minors to have sex, and so he was convicted.
The Law Is Overturned
That law is no more. The Ohio Supreme Court recently overturned it. The argument used is that the law was created to keep people with power over minors -- like teachers -- from abusing their power. Those who were against the law said police didn't specifically have that power, and the court agreed. In the case referenced above, the man had not used his status as a police officer to get the boy to do anything he did not want to do, they said, as he hadn't told him about his line of work.
Opponents also said that the law could have put pressure on officers to lie. For example, if an officer thought a person was an adult and then found out afterward that he or she was a minor, the officer may "compromise his integrity" to prevent the police department from discovering what had happened.
It's important to note that it's still illegal for adults -- those over 18 -- to have sex with minors who are under 16 years old. This change does not alter that or make officers exempt. It simply means that they are not also prohibited from having sex based on their occupation, meaning they may not be convicted if a jury determined that they never intended to have sex with a minor in the first place.
In the above case, the police officer's conviction was overturned. This shows how important it is for people to know about this change to the law and the way that it could change a person's legal defense tactics if accused of breakting the laws that are still on the books.
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