Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of Indiana

The State of Indiana can prosecute individuals - regardless STATEof 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.

Legislative Summary

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.

sobering reality

3 to 8 years in jail.

$10,000 fine.

Register as a sex offender.

Latest News Concerning Sexting in Indiana

Former firefighter charged with sexting with teenage girl

Niles Daily Star | February 24, 2012

New Albany man accused of ‘sexting’ 11-year-old

News and Tribune | February 10, 2012

Doctor admits to sexting teen

WISH TV | December 1, 2011

Niles teens guilty on all 7 counts in sexting/extortion case

South Bend Tribune | November 3, 2011

Teacher Charged with rape of student

News 8 | October 27, 2011

Ex-teacher is accused of stalking former student

Indianapolis Star | July 18, 2011

Teens caught sexting face porn charges

Journal Review Online | June 14, 2011

Bond set at $20,000 in sexting case

NWITimes.com | May 5, 2011

The 'sexting' revolution

Indiana Daily Student | April 1, 2011

Sending the right message to teens

South Bend Tribune | March 6, 2011

Sexting teens are just acting like kids, not criminals

South Bend Tribune | February 26, 2011

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