Over the past several years, federal prosecutors have increasingly used federal jurisdiction to bring child exploitation charges against individuals who have been accused of using a phone or computer to arrange and/or record a sexual act with a minor. These federal charges can carry extensive mandatory minimum prison sentences.
Even though the age of consent under Indiana law is typically 16, a person can still face child exploitation or child seduction charges for engaging in sex acts with an individual between 16 and 18 years of age under certain circumstances. These charges can derive from, among other things, illicit emails or text messages.
The elements necessary to sustain a conviction under the federal child exploitation charge, as well as the possible penalties associated with this charge are listed in 18 U.S.C. § 2251. Indiana has its own child exploitation statute codified under 35-42-4-4.
Oftentimes intermingled with child exploitation charges are allegations of child solicitation or child seduction. Under Indiana law (Indiana Code 35-42-4-6) and federal law (18 U.S.C. § 2422), adults are prohibited from soliciting certain aged minors to engage in sex acts. It is important to note the misnomer that the Indiana age of consent can prevent charges under federal law. The Indiana Child seduction statute (Indiana Code 35-42-4-7) also precludes certain individuals in positions of trust from engaging in sexual relationships with anyone under the age of 18.
Given the ambiguous nature of these charges, it is important to analyze the specific allegations in each case to determine whether prosecutors are exercising proper jurisdiction to lawfully bring charges against you and to ensure the charges themselves do not violate the Constitution.
The attorneys at Hayes Ruemmele LLC have defended child exploitation charges in both federal and state court at the trial court level, as well as in front of the Indiana Court of Appeals and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. We have challenged these cases on both factual and constitutional grounds. We stand ready to guide you through these complex statutes and provide zealous advocacy. Call 317-491-1050 to schedule your consultation.