Child Exploitation & Child Pornography Laws in Indiana

Child exploitation and pornography arrests are becoming more and more common, unfortunately, and as a result, our law firm receives dozens of calls a month or more about the subject. As such, we thought it appropriate to discuss the laws governing child pornography, the possible punishments, and possible defenses. Should you or a loved one face an allegation as serious as possession, distribution or child exploitation tied to child pornography, it is essential you contact an attorney familiar with these types of cases.

Indiana code 35-42-4-4codifies child exploitation and crimes tied to child pornography. The statute begins by defining “sexual conduct” which can range from sexual intercourse, anything involving the touching of or penetration of a sex organ of one person and/or mouth or anus of another person, exhibition of uncovered genitals/female breast exposing the nipple, sadomasochistic abuse, sexual intercourse/conduct with an animal, and/or any “fondling or touching of a child by another person” to arouse that person or the child.

Child Exploitation

Level 5 offenses:

(1-6 years) – the following actions can result in a charge for a level 5 felony:

  • Any person who knowingly and/or intentionally makes, manages, sponsors, produces, presents, exhibits, films/photographs, or creates a digital image that shows sexual conduct by a child under 18;
  • Any person who knowingly and/or intentionally disseminates, exhibits, or offers to do either to another person that “depicts or describes” sexual conduct by a child under 18;
  • Any person who knowingly and/or intentionally makes available or provides a computer to another person knowing that computer or hard drive possess sexual conduct by a child under 18;
  • Any person with intent to satisfy or arouse another person’s desires by:
    1. Knowingly or intentionally: managing, producing, sponsoring, presenting, exhibiting, photographing, filming, or creating a digital image of any performance or isolated incident that shows the uncovered genitals of a child less than 18 or uncovered breast of a female less than 18 showing an uncovered nipple;
    2. Knowingly or intentionally: disseminating to another, exhibiting to another, offering to disseminate or exhibit to another, or providing a computer hard drive knowing that hard drive has a matter that “depicts the uncovered genitals of a child less than 18 or the exhibition of the female breast” with an uncovered nipple;

    Level 4 offenses:

    (2-12 years) – the following actions can result in a charge of a level 4 felony:

    • Anything listed above under Level 5 offenses, plus any of the following involving: (1) a depiction or description of the following and/or (2) actual physical engagement of sexual conduct of:
      1. a child less than 18 engaging in bestiality
      2. a child that is mentally disabled or deficient
      3. a child that engages in sexual conduct by force or threat of force
      4. a child is seen physically resisting to the sexual conduct
      5. a child is injured engaging in sexual conduct
      6. the child is less than 12 years old

    Level 6 offenses:

    (1/2 –  2.5 years) – the following actions can result in a charge for a level 6 felony:

    • Any person who knowingly and/or intentionally possesses: pictures, drawings, photographs, negative images, undeveloped film, motion pictures, videotapes, digitized images, or pictorial representations that depicts/describes sexual conduct by a child less than 18 or who appears to be less than 18 that lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

    Level 5 offenses:

    (1 – 6 years) – the following actions can result in a charge for a level 5 felony:

    • Anything listed above under Level 6 offenses, plus any of the following involving: (1) a depiction or description of the following and/or (2) actual physical engagement of sexual conduct of:
      1. a child less than 18 engaging in bestiality
      2. a child that is mentally disabled or deficient
      3. a child that engages in sexual conduct by force or threat of force
      4. a child is seen physically resisting to the sexual conduct
      5. a child is injured engaging in sexual conduct
      6. the child is less than 12 years old

    The typical defenses to child exploitation and/or possession of child pornography are varied. They range from statutory exceptions of employment justification, a lack of a difference in age of less than 4 years (Romeo and Juliet rule), and/or mistake of fact (i.e. the defendant believed the alleged victim was older than 18).

    Two other main concerns that stem from the abovementioned charges are: (1) the sex registry requirement for convictions under these offenses ranging from 10 years to life, and (2) if the federal government picks up charges. If they do, the penalty ranges are dramatically increased with many offenses having a five year minimum.

    Obviously, the facts in these cases are very important. An experienced attorney can dig into the facts and find any possible defenses that might be available. Even if a defense is not possible, a qualified Indianapolis Criminal Lawyer at Banks & Brower can assist you through the process so that you can get your life back on track. Should you need help 24/7/365, email us or give us a call today at (317) 870-0019 and info@banksbrower.com.