2006 Ohio Revised Code - 2907.31. Disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

§ 2907.31. Disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.
 

(A)  No person, with knowledge of its character or content, shall recklessly do any of the following: 

(1) Directly sell, deliver, furnish, disseminate, provide, exhibit, rent, or present to a juvenile, a group of juveniles, a law enforcement officer posing as a juvenile, or a group of law enforcement officers posing as juveniles any material or performance that is obscene or harmful to juveniles; 

(2) Directly offer or agree to sell, deliver, furnish, disseminate, provide, exhibit, rent, or present to a juvenile, a group of juveniles, a law enforcement officer posing as a juvenile, or a group of law enforcement officers posing as juveniles any material or performance that is obscene or harmful to juveniles; 

(3) While in the physical proximity of the juvenile or law enforcement officer posing as a juvenile, allow any juvenile or law enforcement officer posing as a juvenile to review or peruse any material or view any live performance that is harmful to juveniles. 

(B)  The following are affirmative defenses to a charge under this section that involves material or a performance that is harmful to juveniles but not obscene: 

(1) The defendant is the parent, guardian, or spouse of the juvenile involved. 

(2) The juvenile involved, at the time of the conduct in question, was accompanied by the juvenile's parent or guardian who, with knowledge of its character, consented to the material or performance being furnished or presented to the juvenile. 

(3) The juvenile exhibited to the defendant or to the defendant's agent or employee a draft card, driver's license, birth record, marriage license, or other official or apparently official document purporting to show that the juvenile was eighteen years of age or over or married, and the person to whom that document was exhibited did not otherwise have reasonable cause to believe that the juvenile was under the age of eighteen and unmarried. 

(C) (1)  It is an affirmative defense to a charge under this section, involving material or a performance that is obscene or harmful to juveniles, that the material or performance was furnished or presented for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose, by a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, librarian, clergyman, prosecutor, judge, or other proper person. 

(2) Except as provided in division (B)(3) of this section, mistake of age is not a defense to a charge under this section. 

(D) (1)  A person directly sells, delivers, furnishes, disseminates, provides, exhibits, rents, or presents or directly offers or agrees to sell, deliver, furnish, disseminate, provide, exhibit, rent, or present material or a performance to a juvenile, a group of juveniles, a law enforcement officer posing as a juvenile, or a group of law enforcement officers posing as juveniles in violation of this section by means of an electronic method of remotely transmitting information if the person knows or has reason to believe that the person receiving the information is a juvenile or the group of persons receiving the information are juveniles. 

(2) A person remotely transmitting information by means of a method of mass distribution does not directly sell, deliver, furnish, disseminate, provide, exhibit, rent, or present or directly offer or agree to sell, deliver, furnish, disseminate, provide, exhibit, rent, or present the material or performance in question to a juvenile, a group of juveniles, a law enforcement officer posing as a juvenile, or a group of law enforcement officers posing as juveniles in violation of this section if either of the following applies: 

(a) The person has inadequate information to know or have reason to believe that a particular recipient of the information or offer is a juvenile. 

(b) The method of mass distribution does not provide the person the ability to prevent a particular recipient from receiving the information. 

(E)  If any provision of this section, or the application of any provision of this section to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this section or related sections that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application. To this end, the provisions are severable. 

(F)  Whoever violates this section is guilty of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. If the material or performance involved is harmful to juveniles, except as otherwise provided in this division, a violation of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree. If the material or performance involved is obscene, except as otherwise provided in this division, a violation of this section is a felony of the fifth degree. If the material or performance involved is obscene and the juvenile to whom it is sold, delivered, furnished, disseminated, provided, exhibited, rented, or presented, the juvenile to whom the offer is made or who is the subject of the agreement, or the juvenile who is allowed to review, peruse, or view it is under thirteen years of age, violation of this section is a felony of the fourth degree. 
 

HISTORY: 134 v H 511 (Eff 1-1-74); 142 v H 51 (Eff 3-17-89); 142 v H 790 (Eff 3-16-89); 146 v S 2. Eff 7-1-96; 149 v H 490, § 1, eff. 1-1-04.
 

The effective date is set by section 4 of HB 490. 

Not analogous to former RC § 2907.31 (RS § 6859; S&C 1632; 47 v 21; GC § 12451; Bureau of Code Revision, 10-1-53), repealed 134 v H 511, § 2, eff 1-1-74.

The provisions of § 7 of SB 2 (146 v  - ) read as follows: 

SECTION 7. * * * Section 2907.31 of the Revised Code is presented in this act as a composite of the section as amended by both Sub. H.B. 51 and Am. Sub. H.B. 790 of the 117th General Assembly, with the new language of neither of the acts shown in capital letters. * * * This is in recognition of the principle stated in division (B) of section 1.52 of the Revised Code that such amendments are to be harmonized where not substantively irreconcilable and constitutes a legislative finding that such is the resulting version in effect prior to the effective date of this act. 

 

Effect of Amendments

H.B. 490, Acts 2002, effective January 1, 2004, in (A)(1) and (2), added "Directly" to the beginning and inserted "a group of juveniles, a law enforcement officer posing as a juvenile, or a group of law enforcement officers posing as juveniles"; in (A)(3), added "While in the physical proximity of the juvenile or law enforcement officer posing as a juvenile, allow" and inserted "or law enforcement officer posing as a juvenile"; and inserted (D) and (E) and redesignated former (D) as (F). 

 

19xx Committee Report or Comment.

1974 Committee Comment to H 511

This section is designed to prevent persons from exposing the young to obscenity or to matter which, though not obscene from an adult viewpoint, is nevertheless unsuitable for juveniles. 

Where the material or performance involved is not obscene, the measure permits individual parental judgment to override the public policy against exposing children to unsuitable matter, and a parent may thus furnish his child with a sexually frank novel to read, or may take him to a movie to which only persons age 18 or over or married could normally be admitted. In this context the consent of a parent to a third person furnishing or showing a child unsuitable matter can only be obtained if the parent knows of the character of the material or performance involved. Accordingly, a parent who takes his child to a childrens' cartoon does not consent to the showing of an objectionable preview of an adult movie, unless he was informed of the preview's content. 

The section does not impose on booksellers, theater owners, and others strict liability as to the age or status of their patrons, but permits them to accept the usual documentary evidence of age or married status provided they do not otherwise have cause to believe that the person presenting it is under age 18 and unmarried. 

The section also permits otherwise proscribed matter to be furnished or shown to juveniles for medical, educational, or other proper purposes. 

Disseminating matter harmful to juveniles is a misdemeanor of the first degree if the material or performance involved is harmful to juveniles but not obscene. If the material or performance is obscene, the offense is a felony of the fourth degree. 

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