What happens when an 18-year-old high school senior has consensual sex with a 15-year-old sophomore? Under Ohio law, it is a crime that comes with mandatory registration as a sex offender. We are currently involved in this exact fact pattern. The crime is Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor.
According to 2907.04 Unlawful sexual conduct with minor:
No person who is eighteen years of age or older shall engage in sexual conduct with another, who is not the spouse of the offender, when the offender knows the other person is thirteen years of age or older but less than sixteen years of age, or the offender is reckless in that regard.
Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor not only warrants mandatory sex offender registration, it is also a fourth degree felony that can warrant prison time. The crime becomes even more severe if they have a similar, prior offense.
What happens when the same age kids engage in everything but the sex part? That is also a crime – sexual imposition—and the 18 year old would have to register as a sex offender for 15 years.
According to 2907.06 Sexual imposition:
No person shall have sexual contact with another, not the spouse of the offender; cause another, not the spouse of the offender, to have sexual contact with the offender; or cause two or more other persons to have sexual contact when... The other person, or one of the other persons, is thirteen years of age or older but less than sixteen years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of such person, and the offender is at least eighteen years of age and four or more years older than such other person.
The bottom line is this: no 18-year-old can have any sexual relationship with anyone under 16. That seems rational enough until it involves high school kids.