A man convicted under an Ohio sex offender reporting law completed his 10-year registration requirements while living in Kentucky and did not have to start the reporting period over when he moved to Ohio, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court rejected the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office contention that Michael Schilling’s Ohio sex offender reporting obligation paused while he was living and registering as a sex offender in Kentucky and then resumed when he moved back to Ohio in 2020.
Writing for the Court, Justice Melody Stewart explained that Schilling had committed a sex offense in Ohio in 2007, but was not convicted for that offense until 2008. At sentencing, Schilling was notified by the court that his conviction required him to register as a sex offender under the Adam Walsh Act, Ohio’s sex offender reporting law, which took effect January 1, 2008. Justice Stewart explained that this notification was erroneous to the extent that Megan’s Law, Ohio’s sex offender reporting law in effect at the time the offense was committed, applied to Schilling.
The Court concluded that there is an active duty to report under Megan’s Law when an offender lives, works, or goes to school in Ohio, but that this duty is inactive when the offender remains out of state. The Court concluded that the period, or duration, of the reporting obligation imposed by Megan’s Law is not “tolled,” or paused, when an offender remains out of state. Instead, the period continues to run even if there is no active reporting obligation.