An Indiana Senate Democrat has revived a 2017 bill that would effectively raise Indiana’s age of consent to 18.
Senate Bill 251, authored by State Sen. Frank Mrvan (D-Hammond), would create the crime of “indiscretion” for anyone over the age of 22 who engages in sexual intercourse or conduct with a person at least 16 years old but younger than 18 years old.
Indiana law currently allows anyone over the age of 16 to consent to a sexual encounter – although there are exceptions under the child seduction statute for parents, guardians, teachers, law enforcement officers or anyone who has a professional relationship with the minor.
Mrvan’s bill would make it a level 5 felony – punishable by up to 6 years in prison – for anyone over the age of 22 to engage in sexual intercourse with a 16- or 17-year-old. It would be a level 6 felony – carrying a sentencing range of 6 months to 2-and-a-half years in prison – for anyone over the age of 22 to engage in fondling or sexual touching with a 16- or 17-year-old.
A similar bill was proposed during the 2017 legislative session by Rep. Karlee Macer (D-Indianapolis). Macer’s bill, HB 1517, would have affected anyone at least 23 or older, and also specified that a teacher’s license could be revoked due to a conviction for indiscretion.
Macer’s bill never moved out of the House Committee on Courts & Criminal Code.
Mrvan said he filed his version of the bill to protect children “from those who may prey on them.”
“With technology making it simpler for people to connect with those in their city or across the state, it is more important than ever to offer protections for our children,” Mrvan said. “There are too many news reports of children being taken advantage of, and I hope that this legislation would further deter individuals from targeting our youth.”
Indiana is one of 31 states with an age of consent of 16. Eight states, including Illinois, New York and Texas, have an age of consent of 17. The remaining 11 states have set 18 as the age of consent.
Mrvan’s bill was assigned to the Senate Committee on Corrections & Criminal Law on Jan. 3 following an initial reading.
story from Network Indiana