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Ohio Rape Laws

What is considered rape/sexual battery in Ohio?

In Ohio, there are two separate terms used to describe sexual assault: "rape," and "sexual battery." Both crimes are severely punished under state law, but cover a different range of sexual contact and levels of force or intimidation.

Rape is any form of unwanted sexual conduct without the victim's consent. Usually this is accomplished by force, intimidation, or the threat of force.

Sexual battery charges are usually filed when certain facts are present involving a number of different scenarios such as a teacher at a school, a mental health professional, a prison guard, or when the victim is unable to resist the action through other factors such as age or due to inability to fight back for any reason.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Ohio's rape and sexual battery laws. See also Statutory Rape and Ex Offenders and Ex Offenses.

Code Sections

Rape: Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02

Sexual Battery: Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.03

Elements of Rape

Rape: Rape is any form of unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent and/or obtained through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion.

A person may also be charged with rape if they engaged in sexual conduct with another person who is not their spouse, or is their spouse but lives separately, and:

  • They substantially impaired that person’s judgment or control in order to prevent resistance, by giving that person drugs, controlled substances or some other intoxicant by force, threat of force or deception;
  • The other person is less than 13 years old; or
  • The alleged offender knew or had reasonable cause to believe the other person’s ability to resist or consent was impaired by a mental or physical condition, or advanced age.

Sexual Battery : Sexual conduct with another person, and meet at least one of the following elements:

  • Knowingly coerced, by any means, another person to submit to the sexual conduct that prevented their resistance;
  • Knew the other person’s ability to control their conduct was substantially impaired;
  • Knew the other person submitted to the sexual conduct because they were unaware the act was being committed;
  • Knew the other person submitted to the sexual conduct because they mistakenly identified the alleged offender as their spouse;
  • Is or was the other person’s guardian or parent, including adoptive or step-parents;
  • Had some kind of supervisory or disciplinary authority over a patient in a hospital or other institution or had legal custody over the other person;
  • Is or was a teacher, administrator, coach or other person employed by or serving in a public school, and the other person attends or attended the school;
  • Is or was a teacher, administrator, coach or other person employed by or serving in an institution of higher education, and the other person was a minor at the time of the offense;
  • Is or was a person with temporary or occasional disciplinary control over the other person, such as an athletic coach, instructor or scouting troop leader;
  • Is or was a mental health professional who induced their client or patient to believe the sexual conduct was necessary for mental health treatment;
  • Is or was an employee of a detention facility and the other person is or was confined in the detention facility; OR
  • Is or was a cleric and the other person is or was a minor at the time of the offense and attended the church served by the cleric.
What is the definition of "sexual conduct?"
  • Vaginal intercourse between a male and female;
  • Anal intercourse, fellatio, and cunnilingus between persons regardless of
    sex, and, without privilege to do so,
  • the insertion, however slight, of any part of the body or any instrument, apparatus,
    or other object into the vaginal or anal cavity of another.
  • Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal or anal intercourse

Rape: Generally considered a first degree felony, but but there is a mandatory term for some of the conduct such as administering a drug to the victim. If force or coercion is used, the offender faces life imprisonment

Sexual Battery: Generally a third degree felony. Prison sentence ranging from one to five years and/or fines not more than $10,000.

If the alleged victim is under 13 years old, it's a second degree felony and will result in a mandatory prison sentence of two to five years and/or fines up to $15,000.

Sex Offender Registration?

If you are convicted of the above crimes, you will likely have to register as a sex offender with the State of Ohio.


If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact any of the following resources:

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
  • Rape Crisis Center's 24-Hour Hotline at 1-877-906-7273
  • Ohio Law Enforcement or 911

Facing Rape Charges? You Will Want Legal Representation

If you are being accused of rape, you are facing some serious charges which could result in prison time, fines, and damage to your reputation. With so much at stake, you should hire a skilled criminal defense attorney who can determine the strength of your case and can put up a solid defense on your behalf. Don't go it alone; get in touch with an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney today.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Complex cases usually require a lawyer
  • Experienced lawyers can seek to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties
  • Sexual assaults & sex crime convictions often have long sentences and lifelong consequences

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