© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Ohio High Court Strikes Down Child Enticement Law

The Ohio Supreme court has thrown out Ohio’s child enticement law, saying it criminalizes innocent behavior. The decision puts the responsibility to rewrite the law on Ohio legislators. The state high court said the law is unconstitutional because it prohibits “a significant amount of constitutionally protected activity.â€? The case began in 2010 when Jason Romage offered money to a child in his Columbus neighborhood to help him move boxes. He was charged because Ohio law says – with the exception of police, firefighters or emergency squads – no one can solicit a child younger than 14 to accompany them “in any mannerâ€? without a parent’s OK. Both the trial and appeals courts threw the charges out, saying the law was too broad. But that conflicted with another appeals court decision, so the case went to the Supreme Court. In the 5-2 decision, Justice Judith Lanzinger acknowledged that protecting children from sexual predators is “a paramount governmental interest.â€? But she said the law the way it is written could prohibit something as innocent as a senior citizen offering to pay a kid to mow the grass.