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Government/Politics

Bill That Creates Harsher Penalties For Importuning Is Back In Ohio Legislature Again

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Jo Ingles
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Representatives Kent Smith (left) and Tim Schafer (right) with backers of their bill behind them

Some state lawmakers say current law allows those convicted of importuning or soliciting a minor for sex over the internet, to escape serious penalties. Now there's a bill to toughen those punishments.

Sponsors of the bill say predators often are sentenced to little or no prison time. The bill from Representative Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) would create a mandatory six-month minimum prison term for anyone convicted of the crime. “Nobody wants to go to state prison. I think that’s fair to say," he said, chuckling. "And the threat of a mandatory prison term hanging over the perpetrator’s head, I hope would help deter them.”

The same bill passed the House unanimously last year but there wasn’t time to get it through the Senate before the two-year session ended. Lawmakers now have until the end of next year to pass it this time around.

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