Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of Indiana
The State of Indiana can prosecute individuals - regardless of age - caught sending or receiving sexually explicit images of a minor. However, the State recently proposed legislation that would lighten punishment for minors and teens engaged in sexting provided the images were created voluntarily, the two individuals involved are separated by 4 years or less and the individuals were in a relationship.
The Indiana state legislature has been trying to formulate a sexting statute for several of years now. The lawmakers understand that there is a problem, and have been grappling with how to create legislation that addresses sexting in a meaningful way.
In 2011, the State legislature proposed to amend the State’s child pornography statute to provide for an affirmative defense if an image of a minor engaged in sexual activity is found on or sent by a cellular device.
In general, if two teenagers, who are separated by 4 years in age, are involved in a relationship and send each other sexually explicit images would be able to use their relationship as a defense to any child pornography charges. The Indiana legislature has attempted previously to get a sexting bill signed into law. At this point it is unclear if this latest proposal will become law in Indiana.
However, until the proposed legislation or some other similar type legislation becomes law a minor who is caught creating, distributing or possessing a sexually explicit image of a minor (including an image of themselves) could be charged with a felony under the State’s child pornography statutes. If the minor is convicted they will generally receive a prison sentence and be required to register as a sex offender.
Law and Punishment
In the meantime, Indiana’s child pornography laws generally state that it is a felong for any person (including a minor) to knowingly or intentionally:
- Manage, produce, sponsor, present, exhibit, photograph, film, videotape, or create an image of a minor engaged in a sexual act;
- Disseminate, exhibit to another person, offer to disseminate or exhibit to another person, or send or bring into Indiana for dissemination or exhibition matter that depicts or describes a minor engaged in a sexual act; or
- Make available to another person a computer, knowing that the computer's fixed drive or peripheral device contains matter that depicts or describes a minor engaged in a sexual act.
If convicted under this provision an individual could be sentenced to up to 8 years in prison and be fined up to $10,000.
If convicted of knowingly or intentionally possessing an image of a minor engaged in a sexual act and individual could be sentenced to up to 3 years in prison and be fined up to $10,000.
If convicted under the child pornography statute an individual will have to register as a sex offender.
3 to 8 years in jail.
Register as a sex offender.
Latest News Concerning Sexting in Indiana
Niles Daily Star | February 24, 2012
News and Tribune | February 10, 2012
WISH TV | December 1, 2011
South Bend Tribune | November 3, 2011
News 8 | October 27, 2011
WISHTV | September 19, 2011
Indianapolis Star | July 18, 2011
RTV6 | June 21, 2011
Journal Review Online | June 14, 2011
NWITimes.com | May 5, 2011
WIBC Indianapolis | April 29, 2011
NECN | April 13, 2011
WISH | April 6, 2011
Indiana Daily Student | April 1, 2011
South Bend Tribune | March 6, 2011
South Bend Tribune | February 26, 2011
NBC Chicago | March 5, 2010
Northwest Indiana Times | January 28, 2010
News-Sentinel | December 1, 2009
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