The Ohio House voted 80-0 for a bill that steps up penalties for people who masturbate in view of or expose themselves to children. These kiddie flashers would be required to register as tier 1 sex offenders for 15 years.
The ACLU of Ohio opposed the bill, saying expanding the sex offender registry in ineffective at best and harmful at worst.
“There is no evidence these policies and laws keep people safer or reduce recidivism,” said Gary Daniels of the ACLU of Ohio in written testimony. Exiling sex offenders and making it more difficult to find housing and unemployment increase the chances they will commit another offense, he said.
A panel that reviewed Ohio’s criminal laws recently recommended that court hearings should be held to determine if someone should be required to submit to tier one reporting.
People on the tier one reporting list cannot live within 1,000 feet of a day care center or school.
State Rep. Tim Schaffer, the bill sponsor, said in written testimony that he was shocked to learn that a man who exposed himself to children on passing school buses in Fairfield County wasn’t required to register as a sex offender.
He noted that the bill is written so that only offenders who knowingly expose themselves for sexual gratification would be targeted — not a college student urinating in an alley, for example. Schaffer said law enforcement told him that public indecency is sometimes a gateway to more serious crimes.