Hookup Shocker: The Sex Is Legal, but Talking About It Is a Felony!

This week the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill ostensibly aimed at fighting "human trafficking" that makes it a crime to "solicit" a legal act: sex with someone who is 16 or 17 years old. The age of consent in Ohio is 16. Yet under H.B. 130, a 20-year-old who asks a 16-year-old to have sex with him, or a 21-year-old who does the same with a 17-year-old, thereby commits a fifth-degree felony, punishable by six to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. He also has to register as a sex offender. But if the teenager broaches the subject, or if the sex proceeds without any explicit verbal reference to it, no crime has been committed. Here is the relevant provision:

No person shall solicit another, not the spouse of the offender, to engage in sexual conduct with the offender, when the offender is eighteen years of age or older and four or more years older than the other person, and the other person is sixteen or seventeen years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of the other person.

Since there is no requirement that money change hands, this provision criminalizes ordinary sexual propositions if one person is 16 or 17 and the other is at least four years older when it is the older person who makes the suggestion, even though the sex itself remains legal. Having sex is fine, as long as you don't talk about it beforehand.

The elimination of any knowledge requirement, which is problematic even when the "solicitation" involves someone below the age of consent, is especially so when the person approached is 16 or 17. Since the difference between a 16- or 17-year-old and an 18-year-old may be difficult to discern, someone keen to avoid a felony charge would be wise to demand proof of age before saying anything about sex. And if the object of his attention happens to have a fake ID—as teenagers pretending to be older than they are sometimes do, especially when they go to bars or clubs—that is no defense. As Granville, Ohio, attorney Drew Mc Farland notes, the bill imposes  a "strict liability" sta ndard, meaning that "even an honest mistake is unforgiven." Mc Farland, who drew my attention to this bill, suggests one such scenario:

A mature 17-year-old is lawfully in a liquor-serving establishment and meets a 22-year-old who suggests they go back to his or her place for some sexual fun. Under this change in the law, the 22-year-old is guilty of a felony.

Legislators already define "human trafficking" broadly enough to include consensual sex (when it occurs in exchange for money). Now Ohio is poised to classify merely talking about consensual sex, even when no money is involved, as a species of sexual slavery.

The Ohio Senate is expected to take up the bill after returning from its summer break.

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  • Warrren||

    Politicians write a stupid, freedom-infringing law? I'm stunned.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This gives prosecutors a boner.

  • SIV||

    We didn't have all these White Slavery panics back in the 1970s.
    Unless you call a made-for-TV movie like The Minnesota Strip a panic.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Laws are so weird. I wonder if space aliens have laws like these.

  • Free Society||

    You may be saddened to learn that as far as organic computers go, the human brain is likely as good as it gets. As long as laws of nature remain constant throughout the universe and unless we're dealing with cyborg aliens, they just can't get any smarter than humans :(

  • anon||

    Hopefully our cyborg alien overlords will arrive soon then, cause humans are pretty dumb.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The first rule of Teen Sex Club....

  • Free Society||

    The 5th and Final rule... if it's your first night at Teen Sex Club you have to bang.

  • Enough About Palin||

    Maranda Cosgrove is older than 17.

  • Calidissident||

    And she goes to my school

  • Jerryskids||

    If you ask an Ohio legislator to go fuck himself and a 16-year old overhears it, have you committed a crime?

  • Free Society||

    Jerry's kids lol. you belong in this thread

  • Paul.||

    What about sex colloquialisms?

    Lemme hit it, babydoll...

    I'ma tap that ass...

    Gimme some sugar, baby...

  • Free Society||

    VERBOTEN

  • Rasilio||

    So what you are saying is that they just criminalized being an assistant manager at every retail establishment that hires a large number of teenagers.

    You have to wonder how many McDonalds assistant managers will be arrested and charged with this because they told some twit 16 year old to do something they didn't want to do before they start requiring every employee wear a recording device at all times.

  • wolfpackarmy||

    Nonsense. We all know teenagers never use the law to entrap young men. They are all victims, no matter how much they lied in order to get what they wanted out of those evil men.

  • Robert||

    But if you don't ask, it could be rape.

  • anon||

    It's only rape if she says no, but since nobody asked...

  • ||

    It is literally impossible for an 18- or 19-year-old to violate this law, yet the dumb fuck politicians still write eighteen years or older. Also, First Amendment, fuckheads.

  • Dave Krueger||

    From what I gather on the state's website, Ohio law defines solicitation as asking someone to engage in sex FOR HIRE, whereas this article by Mr Sullum seems to imply that merely asking someone, 16 or 17, to have sex equates to soliciting.

    I'm not defending the bill, but I don't think it really criminalizes an older person merely discussing the idea of having sex with a 16 or 17 year old.

  • anon||

    We all pay for sex, just in different ways. Your argument is invalid.

  • ||

    Your comment makes no sense. As long as you're less than 4 years older then the 'victim', solicitation for hire is okay? No way that's the law they are writing. Derp.

  • Mollyg||

    This bill poses a bigger problem. Explicit consent is a tool to prevent rape, and this outlaws it. Who in their right mind criminalizes acts meant to prevent rape?

  • sticks||

    "Who in their right mind criminalizes acts meant to prevent rape?"

    TOP MEN

  • Ebriosa||

    That's what I came here to say. We're supposed to encourage people to communicate, not make assumptions!

  • ||

    The actual text of the bill can be found here under the revised section 2907.07(B)(2): http://www.legislature.state.o.....130_HB_130

    The link in the story is NFG.

  • GILMORE||

    Having sex is fine, as long as you don't talk about it beforehand.

    well then people will just have to learn to start picking up chicks the way I do= *sign language*.

    or, like manny does it... it drive a them crazy=

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ata_player

  • GILMORE||

    dont worry its still ok to play this song while driving a teenager back to your crib =
    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics...../play.html

  • Sex Offender Map||

    Sex Offenders need to be stopped. If you would like to locate sex offenders easier, check out this sex offender map by AlertID

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