Law inspired by Columbus serial groper heads to Ohio Senate

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that would increase penalties for repeat sexual offenders.

The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

The legislation was proposed in part because of the case of Lonnie Sturdivant.

Sturdivant has a 30-year history of groping women in public.

Because his crime, sexual imposition, is a misdemeanor, the toughest sentence he could get was six months in prison, no matter how many times he's convicted.

Under House Bill 96, after a third offense, the potential jail time doubles to one year per charge.

“Protecting Ohio’s citizens from unwanted and unprovoked touching or groping by repeat offenders should be a priority for all of us,” said Rep. Jim Hughes, who sponsored the legislation.

“This legislation will help ensure that these offenders are off our streets and unable to attack innocent victims.”

Sturdivant is in jail, awaiting trial on two additional cases of sexual imposition. He's accused of groping women at Capital University and a bar near Ohio State.

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