If your family has recently been affected by sexual violence, you may be feeling angry, frustrated, and helpless. Our Indiana sexual abuse victims' lawyers can help you find questions about common concerns like:
- How will the person responsible be prosecuted?
- What can we do if the perpetrator isn't convicted?
- Can third parties be held liable for failing to prevent or report abuse?
We can help you explore your legal options and begin fighting for justice.
Taking legal action after becoming the victim of sexual violence is a way towards healing for many survivors.
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Survivors of sexual crimes often suffer a variety of physical, mental, and emotional damages during and after the crime. If you’ve recently become a victim and are curious how the law might punish your offender, you’re in the right place. We’ve summarized Indiana’s sexual assault and child sexual abuse laws below.
Criminal Laws For Sexual Misconduct In Indiana
Remember that while criminal prosecution is important, it’s equally important to protect your rights as a victim. Our Indiana victims’ rights lawyers help people in your situation seek justice through civil lawsuits against attackers and third parties who allow sexual crimes to occur through negligence. From South Bend and Fort Wayne to Indianapolis and Evansville, we can help guide you through each step of recovery as a victim, including how to seek both criminal prosecution and financial compensation.
Civil sexual abuse lawsuits help victims in ways criminal courts can't, such as:
- Holding perpetrators accountable even when criminal courts fail
- Demanding accountability from third parties who enabled or covered up abuse
- Providing financial support for economic and noneconomic losses
We can help your family stand up for your legal rights in the wake of a sexual assault. To find out more about your legal options, get in touch with us today for a free consultation.
Indiana's Child Sexual Abuse Laws
Indiana has six child sexual abuse laws which are used to prosecute perpetrators who commit sexual crimes against minors:
A person is guilty of child exploitation if he or she does any of the following:
- Makes a computer available to another person, which contains sexually explicit material involving a child under 18 years of age.
- Knowingly manages, produces, sponsors, creates, disseminates, or exhibits sexually explicit material involving a child under 18.
- Intentionally possesses materials depicting sexual conduct by a child under age 16.
Anyone guilty of either of the first two offenses may be convicted of a Level 3 felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. For those guilty of the third offense, the charge is a Level 4 felony punishable by up to 1.5 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Anyone who engages in any type of sexual conduct with a child under 14 years old is guilty of child molesting, which can be charged as either a Level 1, 2, 3, or 4 felony – depending on the circumstances of the crime. Circumstances like the use of a deadly weapon, serious bodily injuries, the use of controlled substances, and the offender being over 21 years old will result in a Level 1 felony, which is the highest charge. A Level 1 felony carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
An adult can be charged with child seduction if he or she engages in sexual conduct with a child 16 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age, under one of the following circumstances:
- The adult is a military recruiter attempting to enlist the child
- The adult is a child care worker supervising the child
- The adult is a guardian, adoptive parent, adoptive grandparent, custodian, or stepparent of the child
Child seduction is a Level 4 felony punishable by up to 1.5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
A person is guilty of child solicitation if he or she knowingly or intentionally commands, authorizes, urges, incites, requests, or advises a minor to engage in any type of sexual activity. For a first time offense, this crime is a Class 3 felony punishable by up to 1.5 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. If the offender uses a computer network to commit the crime, the charge is upgraded to a Class C felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison and the same fine. If the offender has a previous conviction for another offense involving a computer network, the charge will be a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and the same fine.
Sexual Misconduct With A Minor
Anyone who engages in sexual contact with a person who is at least 14 years old but younger than 16 years old is guilty of sexual misconduct with a minor. This offense can be charged at one of three felony levels:
- Level 5 Felony – An offender 18 years or older engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual conduct with a child at least 14 years old but less than 16 years old. Punishable by 1-6 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
- Level 4 Felony – Same circumstances as above but with an offender 21 years of age or older. Punishable by 2-12 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
- Level 1 Felony – An offender 18 years or older uses deadly force or threat thereof, causes serious bodily injury, or drugs the victim to engage in sexual conduct without their consent. Punishable by 20-40 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Vicarious Sexual Gratification; Sexual Conduct In Presence Of A Minor
Any person 18 years of age or older who knowingly or intentionally directs, aids, induces, or causes a child under the age of 16 to touch or fondle himself or another child is guilty of a Level 4 felony if the victim is under the age of 14 and a Level 3 felony if the offense is committed with the use or threat of use of a deadly weapon, the use of a drug or controlled substance, or if serious bodily injured occurs during the crime.
If the perpetrator causes these children to engage in sexual intercourse, with an animal, or in other sexual conduct, the perpetrator is guilty of a Level 4 felony. If any child involved is less than 14 years old, it will be charged as a Level 3 felony. If the use or threat of the use of deadly force is involved, it will be a Level 2 felony.
If an adult knowingly engages in sexual intercourse, other sexual conduct, or touches or fondles their own body in the presence of a child under 14 years old, he or she is guilty of a Level 6 felony.
Sexual Offenses Against Adults In Indiana
In Indiana, there are four criminal statutes which are used to prosecute sexual crimes against adults. Some of these laws may also apply in cases involving minors.
Failure Of Carriers Of Dangerous Communicable Diseases To Warn Persons At Risk
Carriers of AIDS, HIV, and Hepatitis B have a legal duty to notify past and present sexual or needling-sharing partners of the fact that they carry one of these diseases. These carriers must also notify sexual or needle-sharing partners before engaging in one of these high-risk activities. Failure to meet this duty is considered a Class 6 felony, punishable by between 6 months and 2 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Promotion Of Human Trafficking; Sexual Trafficking Of A Minor; Human Trafficking
A person who uses force, the threat of force, or fraud to knowingly or intentionally recruit, harbor, or transport another person for forced labor, involuntary servitude, forced marriage, prostitution, or sexual conduct is guilty of promotion of human trafficking. This is a Level 4 felony.
A person who knowingly or intentionally recruits, harbors, or transports a child under 18 years old with the intent of engaging the child in forced labor, involuntary servitude, prostitution, or sexual exploitation is guilty of promotion of human trafficking of a minor – a Level 3 felony.
A person who sells or transfers custody of a child under 18 years of age for prostitution or sexual exploitation is guilty of sexual trafficking of a minor, a Level 2 felony.
A person who pays, offers to pay, or agrees to pay money or other property to another person for a victim who the person knows has been forced into forced labor, involuntary servitude, or prostitution is guilty of human trafficking, a Level 5 felony.
A person is guilty of rape in Indiana if he or she knowingly or intentionally engages in sexual intercourse with another person or causes another person to submit to the other sexual conduct under any of the following circumstances:
- The person commits the act by use of force or the threat of imminent use of force
- The victim is unaware that the sexual activity is occurring
- The victim is mentally disabled or deficient to the point that he or she is unable to give consent
Under these circumstances, rape will be charged as a Level 3 felony. If any of the following circumstances apply, the charge will be upgraded to a Level 1 felony:
- The offense is committed by using or threatening to use deadly force
- It’s committed while the offender is armed with a deadly weapon
- It results in serious bodily injury to anyone other than the defendant
- The act is committed through the use of a drug or controlled substance furnished without the victim’s knowledge
Anyone who engages in any of the following conduct is guilty of sexual battery:
- Touches another person by using force or the imminent threat of force
- Touches a victim who is mentally disabled or deficient and incapable of giving consent
- Touches another person’s genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast when that person is unaware that the touching is occurring
A person guilty of one or more of these offenses will be charged with a Level 6 felony. This charge can be upgraded to a Level 4 felony if:
- The act is committed with the use or threat of the use of deadly force
- The perpetrator is armed with a deadly weapon, or
- The offense is committed by administering a drug or controlled substance to the victim without their knowledge