OHIO

CHILD SEX ABUSE SOLs

CURRENT CIVIL SOL

In Ohio, the civil SOL for child sex abuse claims is capped at age 30 (age of majority, 18, plus 12 years).

CIVIL SOL SNAPSHOT

AGE CAP

AGE 30

DISCOVERY TOLLING

LIMITED TO FRAUDULENT CONCEALMENT

REVIVAL LAW

NONE

Changes Since 2002:

Age Cap:  In 2002, the Ohio civil SOL was age 19 (age of majority, 18, plus 1 year). In 2006, the civil SOL was extended to age 30 (age of majority, 18, plus 12 years).  

Discovery:  Ohio recognized in 1994 that its common law discovery rule applies to cases involving repressed memories of child sex abuse. Ohio courts have declined to extend its discovery rule any further. The Ohio Supreme Court later ruled the common law discovery rule no longer applies to any child sex abuse claims filed after 2006, as it was superseded by the newly enacted retroactive statute of limitations. Currently, there is no statutory or common law discovery rule for child sexual abuse claims in Ohio.

Revival Law:  Ohio has not passed a window or other SOL revival legislation since 2002. It came very close to enacting a window in 2006 that would have permitted revival of expired civil claims, but the measure was defeated by the Catholic bishops.

CURRENT OHIO CIVIL LAW

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.111 - Limitation of action for assault or battery; when action accrues when identity of defendant unknown

(A) As used in this section:

(1) “Childhood sexual abuse” means any conduct that constitutes any of the violations identified in division (A)(1)(a) or (b) of this section and would constitute a criminal offense under the specified section or division of the Revised Code, if the victim of the violation is at the time of the violation a child under eighteen years of age or a child with a developmental disability or physical impairment under twenty-one years of age. The court need not find that any person has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to the offense under the specified section or division of the Revised Code in order for the conduct that is the violation constituting the offense to be childhood sexual abuse for purposes of this division. This division applies to any of the following violations committed in the following specified circumstances:

(a) A violation of section 2907.02 or of division (A)(1), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), or (12) of section 2907.03 of the Revised Code;

(b) A violation of section 2907.05 or 2907.06 of the Revised Code if, at the time of the violation, any of the following apply:

(i) The actor is the victim’s natural parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent or the guardian, custodian, or person in loco parentis of the victim.

(ii) The victim is in custody of law or a patient in a hospital or other institution, and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim.

(iii) The actor is a teacher, administrator, coach, or other person in authority employed by or serving in a school for which the state board of education prescribes minimum standards pursuant to division (D) of section 3301.07 of the Revised Code, the victim is enrolled in or attends that school, and the actor is not enrolled in and does not attend that school.

(iv) The actor is a teacher, administrator, coach, or other person in authority employed by or serving in an institution of higher education, and the victim is enrolled in or attends that institution.

(v) The actor is the victim’s athletic or other type of coach, is the victim’s instructor, is the leader of a scouting troop of which the victim is a member, or is a person with temporary or occasional disciplinary control over the victim.

(vi) The actor is a mental health professional, the victim is a mental health client or patient of the actor, and the actor induces the victim to submit by falsely representing to the victim that the sexual contact involved in the violation is necessary for mental health treatment purposes.

(vii) The victim is confined in a detention facility, and the actor is an employee of that detention facility.

(viii) The actor is a cleric, and the victim is a member of, or attends, the church or congregation served by the cleric.

(2) “Cleric” has the same meaning as in section 2317.02 of the Revised Code.

(3) “Mental health client or patient” has the same meaning as in section 2305.51 of the Revised Code.

(4) “Mental health professional” has the same meaning as in section 2305.115 of the Revised Code.

(5) “Sexual contact” has the same meaning as in section 2907.01 of the Revised Code.

(6) “Victim” means, except as provided in division (B) of this section, a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

(B) Except as provided in section 2305.115 of the Revised Code and subject to division (C) of this section, an action for assault or battery shall be brought within one year after the cause of the action accrues. For purposes of this section, a cause of action for assault or battery accrues upon the later of the following:

(1) The date on which the alleged assault or battery occurred;

(2) If the plaintiff did not know the identity of the person who allegedly committed the assault or battery on the date on which it allegedly occurred, the earlier of the following dates:

(a) The date on which the plaintiff learns the identity of that person;

(b) The date on which, by the exercise of reasonable diligence, the plaintiff should have learned the identity of that person.

(C) An action for assault or battery brought by a victim of childhood sexual abuse based on childhood sexual abuse, or an action brought by a victim of childhood sexual abuse asserting any claim resulting from childhood sexual abuse, shall be brought within twelve years after the cause of action accrues. For purposes of this section, a cause of action for assault or battery based on childhood sexual abuse, or a cause of action for a claim resulting from childhood sexual abuse, accrues upon the date on which the victim reaches the age of majority. If the defendant in an action brought by a victim of childhood sexual abuse asserting a claim resulting from childhood sexual abuse that occurs on or after August 3, 2006, has fraudulently concealed from the plaintiff facts that form the basis of the claim, the running of the limitations period with regard to that claim is tolled until the time when the plaintiff discovers or in the exercise of due diligence should have discovered those facts.

Case law

Pratte v. Stewart, 125 Ohio St. 3d 473, 474-75, 929 N.E.2d 415, 417-18 (Ohio 2010): Finding that R.C. 2305.111(C) does not contain tolling provision for repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse, thus discovery rule did not apply to toll statute of limitations while victim of childhood sexual abuse repressed memories of abuse.

CURRENT CRIMINAL SOL

In Ohio, the criminal SOL for rape and sexual assault battery is capped at age 43 (age of majority, 18, plus 25 years) or 5 years if a DNA determination is made within 25 years of the abuse. The criminal SOL for all other felonies is capped at age 38 (age of majority, 18, plus 20 years) and age 20 (age of majority, 18, plus two years) for misdemeanors.

CRIMINAL SOL SNAPSHOT

OTHER FELONIES

RAPE

Age 43 Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.13(A)(4)

SEXUAL BATTERY

Age 43 Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.13(A)(4)

OTHER FELONIES

Age 38 Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.13

MISDEMEANORS

Age 20 Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.13(A)(1)(b)

DNA SNAPSHOT

 

RAPE

No SOL, if identification 25 years after the offense then it extends to a 5 year SOL Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.13(D)

SEXUAL BATTERY

No SOL, if identification 25 years after the offense then it extends to a 5 year SOL Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.13(D)

Changes Since 2002:

In 2002, the criminal SOL was age 24 for felony offenses and age 20 for misdemeanor crimes.  In 2015, the criminal SOL was extended to age 43 for rape and sexual battery, 38 for other felonies, and age 20 for misdemeanors.  That same year it also added a DNA provision for rape and sexual battery which eliminated the SOL if there was a DNA match within 25 years of the offense or if after 25 years, it extended the SOL by 5 years.  Ohio is still one of only 8 states not to eliminate at least felony crimes from the SOL.

CURRENT OHIO CRIMINAL LAW

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.13 - Limitations on criminal prosecutions

(A)(1) Except as provided in division (A)(2), (3), or (4) of this section or as otherwise provided in this section, a prosecution shall be barred unless it is commenced within the following periods after an offense is committed:

(a) For a felony, six years;

(b) For a misdemeanor other than a minor misdemeanor, two years;

(c) For a minor misdemeanor, six months.

(2) There is no period of limitation for the prosecution of a violation of section 2903.01 or 2903.02 of the Revised Code.

(3) Except as otherwise provided in divisions (B) to (J) of this section, a prosecution of any of the following offenses shall be barred unless it is commenced within twenty years after the offense is committed:

(a) A violation of section 2903.03, 2903.04, 2905.01, 2905.32, 2907.04, 2907.05, 2907.21, 2909.02, 2909.22, 2909.23, 2909.24, 2909.26, 2909.27, 2909.28, 2909.29, 2911.01, 2911.02, 2911.11, 2911.12, or 2917.02 of the Revised Code, a violation of section 2903.11 or 2903.12 of the Revised Code if the victim is a peace officer, a violation of section 2903.13 of the Revised Code that is a felony, or a violation of former section 2907.12 of the Revised Code;

(b) A conspiracy to commit, attempt to commit, or complicity in committing a violation set forth in division (A)(3)(a) of this section.

(4) Except as otherwise provided in divisions (D) to (L) of this section, a prosecution of a violation of section 2907.02 or 2907.03 of the Revised Code or a conspiracy to commit, attempt to commit, or complicity in committing a violation of either section shall be barred unless it is commenced within twenty-five years after the offense is committed.

(B)(1) Except as otherwise provided in division (B)(2) of this section, if the period of limitation provided in division (A)(1) or (3) of this section has expired, prosecution shall be commenced for an offense of which an element is fraud or breach of a fiduciary duty, within one year after discovery of the offense either by an aggrieved person, or by the aggrieved person’s legal representative who is not a party to the offense.

(2) If the period of limitation provided in division (A)(1) or (3) of this section has expired, prosecution for a violation of section 2913.49 of the Revised Code shall be commenced within five years after discovery of the offense either by an aggrieved person or the aggrieved person’s legal representative who is not a party to the offense.

(C)(1) If the period of limitation provided in division (A)(1) or (3) of this section has expired, prosecution shall be commenced for the following offenses during the following specified periods of time:

(a) For an offense involving misconduct in office by a public servant, at any time while the accused remains a public servant, or within two years thereafter;

(b) For an offense by a person who is not a public servant but whose offense is directly related to the misconduct in office of a public servant, at any time while that public servant remains a public servant, or within two years thereafter.

(2) As used in this division:

(a) An “offense is directly related to the misconduct in office of a public servant” includes, but is not limited to, a violation of section 101.71, 101.91, 121.61 or 2921.13, division (F) or (H) of section 102.03, division (A) of section 2921.02, division (A) or (B) of section 2921.43, or division (F) or (G) of section 3517.13 of the Revised Code, that is directly related to an offense involving misconduct in office of a public servant.

(b) “Public servant” has the same meaning as in section 2921.01 of the Revised Code.

(D)(1) If a DNA record made in connection with the criminal investigation of the commission of a violation of section 2907.02 or 2907.03 of the Revised Code is determined to match another DNA record that is of an identifiable person and if the time of the determination is later than twenty-five years after the offense is committed, prosecution of that person for a violation of the section may be commenced within five years after the determination is complete.

(2) If a DNA record made in connection with the criminal investigation of the commission of a violation of section 2907.02 or 2907.03 of the Revised Code is determined to match another DNA record that is of an identifiable person and if the time of the determination is within twenty-five years after the offense is committed, prosecution of that person for a violation of the section may be commenced within the longer of twenty-five years after the offense is committed or five years after the determination is complete.

(3) As used in this division, “DNA record” has the same meaning as in section 109.573 of the Revised Code.

(E) An offense is committed when every element of the offense occurs. In the case of an offense of which an element is a continuing course of conduct, the period of limitation does not begin to run until such course of conduct or the accused’s accountability for it terminates, whichever occurs first.

(F) A prosecution is commenced on the date an indictment is returned or an information filed, or on the date a lawful arrest without a warrant is made, or on the date a warrant, summons, citation, or other process is issued, whichever occurs first. A prosecution is not commenced by the return of an indictment or the filing of an information unless reasonable diligence is exercised to issue and execute process on the same. A prosecution is not commenced upon issuance of a warrant, summons, citation, or other process, unless reasonable diligence is exercised to execute the same.

(G) The period of limitation shall not run during any time when the corpus delicti remains undiscovered.

(H) The period of limitation shall not run during any time when the accused purposely avoids prosecution. Proof that the accused departed this state or concealed the accused’s identity or whereabouts is prima-facie evidence of the accused’s purpose to avoid prosecution.

(I) The period of limitation shall not run during any time a prosecution against the accused based on the same conduct is pending in this state, even though the indictment, information, or process that commenced the prosecution is quashed or the proceedings on the indictment, information, or process are set aside or reversed on appeal.

(J) The period of limitation for a violation of any provision of Title XXIX of the Revised Code that involves a physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of a child under eighteen years of age or of a child with a developmental disability or physical impairment under twenty-one years of age shall not begin to run until either of the following occurs:

(1) The victim of the offense reaches the age of majority.

(2) A public children services agency, or a municipal or county peace officer that is not the parent or guardian of the child, in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred has been notified that abuse or neglect is known, suspected, or believed to have occurred.

(K) As used in this section, “peace officer” has the same meaning as in section 2935.01 of the Revised Code.

(L) The amendments to divisions (A) and (D) of this section apply to a violation of section 2907.02 or 2907.03 of the Revised Code committed on and after July 16, 2015, and apply to a violation of either of those sections committed prior to July 16, 2015, if prosecution for that violation was not barred under this section as it existed on the day prior to July 16, 2015.

Case Law

The information provided is solely for informational purposes and is not legal advice. To determine the Ohio SOL in a particular case, contact a lawyer in the state.

Last Updated: April 21, 2021

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