The Ohio Supreme court has thrown out Ohio’s child enticement law, saying it’s criminalizes innocent behavior. For Ohio Public Radio, WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on today’s decision, which 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.”
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 manner” 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.” But she said the law is written in a way that could prohibit something as innocent as a senior citizen offering to pay a kid to mow the grass.