January 13, 2021 | Sex Crimes
The age of consent for sexual acts in Indiana is 16 years. Therefore, it is illegal for an adult to have sexual intercourse or engage in any sexual activity with a child under the age of 16 years. It does not matter whether or not the minor consented to the sexual activity or not.
What is Considered Statutory Rape in Indiana?
Statutory rape is considered a crime under Indiana Code §35-42-4-9. According to the code section, a person 18 years of age or older who knowingly or intentionally submits to or performs sexual conduct or sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 16 years commits the crime of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Sexual misconduct with a minor is a Level 5 felony. However, if the person is 21 years of age or older, the offense increases to a Level 4 felony.
When the crime involves any of the following, it rises to a Level 1 felony:
- Using or threatening to use deadly force
- Is committed while armed with a deadly weapon
- Results in serious bodily injury
- Is committed after furnishing the victims with drugs or a controlled substance with the victim’s consent
- Is committed after knowing the victim was furnished with a drug or a controlled substance without the victim’s consent
When a person 18 years of age or older fondles or touches a child under 16 years of age with the intent to satisfy the person’s or the child’s sexual desires, the person commits a Level 6 felony. If the person is 21 years of age or older, the crime is a Level 5 felony. If the crime involves threats of deadly force, weapons, or drugs/controlled substances, the charge increases to a Level 2 felony.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Statutory Rape in Indiana?
There are sentencing guidelines for statutory rape charges in Indiana. Each of the felonies carries a potential fine of up to $10,000. The prison sentences depend on the level of the felony.
Potential prison sentences for a felony conviction for statutory rape are:
- Level 6 Felonies – Up to 2.5 years in prison
- Level 5 Felonies – Up to six years in prison
- Level 4 Felonies – Up to 12 years in prison
- Level 3 Felonies – Up to 16 years in prison
- Level 2 Felonies – Up to 30 years in prison
- Level 1 Felonies – Up to 40 years in prison
In addition to a prison sentence and a fine, the person may be required to register as a sex offender. Being on the sex offender registry impacts where you can live, work, or conduct business. You might also be prohibited from other activities.
Are There Defenses to Statutory Rape Charges in Indiana?
There are several defenses to statutory rape charges contained in the code. It is a defense if you reasonably believed that the minor was at least 16 years of age at the time of the sexual activity. However, the defense does not apply if the crime was committed with the use of drugs, weapons, force, or threats.
Another potential defense to statutory rape charges is that the child is or was married. However, this defense does not apply if the sexual activity involved the use of drugs, armed weapons, force, or threats.
You can also mount a defense to statutory rape charges if all of the following elements apply:
- The alleged perpetrator is not more than four years older than the victim
- The parties were in a dating or an ongoing relationship
- The person has not committed another sex offense
- The person is not promoting prostitution
- The crime was not committed by a person who is 21 years of age or older
- The person did not use deadly force, threats of deadly force, or a deadly weapon
- The crime did not result in bodily injury
- The crime did not involve furnishing the victim with drugs or controlled substances without the victim’s knowledge
- The crime was not committed by a person who had substantial influence or was in a position of authority over the victim
There may be additional defenses to statutory rape charges, such as violations of your civil rights, lack of reasonable doubt, insufficient evidence, or a credible alibi.
If you are charged with statutory rape, do not have any further contact with the alleged victim. Avoid contact with anyone who might have contact with the victim, if possible. You do not want to be accused of trying to intimidate or influence the victim.
Do not talk to the police or anyone else about the matter, except for a criminal defense attorney. You have the right to remain silent and consult with counsel. It is in your best interest to do both.