© 2022 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ohio Supreme Court Decides Juvenile Courts Can Dismiss Sex Charges

photo of judge gavel
ESB PROFESSIONAL
/
SHUTTERSTOCK

A divided Ohio Supreme Court says juvenile courts can dismiss sex charges against a child under 13 if the kids involved in sexual conduct were close in age. The decision in the case involved a 12-year-old and a 9-year-old.

In this case from 2013, the 12-year-old was accused of gross sexual imposition against the younger child. Though force wasn’t alleged, there were few details known about what happened between the kids. Attorney David Strait argued to the court in May that the charge went against Ohio law protecting kids under 13, who are unable to consent and also can’t be charged with rape and other crimes.

“If both the offender and the alleged victim are within that protected class, then this distinction between the two breaks down,” he said.

Three justices agreed that juvenile courts can dismiss charges and order treatment, one justice joined that but expressed concern about applying this ruling to future cases, and three others dissented.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.