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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Hicks

Understanding Child Exploitation Laws in Indiana: A Closer Look at IC 35-42-4-4



In today's digital age, the internet has transformed how we communicate, share information, and even commit crimes. In Indiana, child exploitation laws, specifically outlined in IC 35-42-4-4, are in place to protect children from the dissemination and possession of child pornography. At B. Hicks Law, we are committed to providing effective legal representation to individuals accused of such crimes while ensuring a fair and non-judgmental approach to their defense.


Child Exploitation Laws in Indiana

IC 35-42-4-4 establishes regulations and penalties for various activities related to child exploitation. The law defines key terms and outlines the specific actions that constitute child exploitation, which is categorized as a Level 5 felony. However, the severity of the offense can increase to a Level 4 felony under certain circumstances.


Understanding the Definitions

The law provides clear definitions to better understand the scope of child exploitation:

  1. Disseminate: Transferring possession of child pornography for free or in exchange for consideration.

  2. Image: Encompasses various forms, including pictures, drawings, photographs, films, motion pictures, digitized images, computer-generated images, and any pictorial representation.

  3. Matter: Defined as in IC 35-49-1-3.

  4. Performance: Defined as in IC 35-49-1-7.

  5. Sexual Conduct: Involves various acts, including sexual intercourse, exhibition of uncovered genitals or female breasts with less than a fully opaque covering of the nipple, sadomasochistic abuse, sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct with an animal, or any fondling or touching intended to arouse or satisfy sexual desires.

Prohibited Activities

IC 35-42-4-4 prohibits several activities related to child exploitation, including:

  1. Managing, producing, sponsoring, presenting, or exhibiting any performance or incident that includes sexual conduct by a child under 18 years of age.

  2. Disseminating, exhibiting, offering to disseminate or exhibit, or sending matter depicting sexual conduct by a child under 18 years of age.

  3. Making available a computer containing matter that depicts sexual conduct by a child under 18 years of age.

  4. Creating explicit content involving uncovered genitals or the exhibition of female breasts by a child under 18 years of age with the intent to satisfy or arouse sexual desires.

  5. Producing, disseminating, or possessing with intent to disseminate obscene images involving a child under 18 years of age, even if the depicted child does not exist.

Enhanced Penalties

The offense of child exploitation is a Level 4 felony if it involves:

  1. Bestiality, mentally disabled or deficient children, use of force, bodily injury, or victims under 12 years of age.

Possession of Child Pornography

The law also addresses the possession of child pornography as a Level 6 felony. However, similar to child exploitation, the severity of the offense can increase to a Level 5 felony under specific circumstances.

Defenses and Exemptions

IC 35-42-4-4 outlines various defenses and exemptions, including:

  • Exemptions for bona fide schools, museums, or public libraries acting for legitimate scientific or educational purposes.

  • A defense for school employees, Department of Child Services employees, or attorneys acting within the scope of their employment.

  • A defense for individuals using wireless communication devices in certain relationships, provided the age gap is not more than four years and the crime is committed by a person less than 22 years old.

Your Defense Matters

At B. Hicks Law, we understand that accusations related to child exploitation and child pornography are serious and can have lifelong consequences. We believe in providing a robust defense, ensuring the protection of your rights and a fair legal process.

Our legal team is experienced in handling cases related to IC 35-42-4-4, and we are here to support you through every step of the legal process. We approach your case with professionalism and respect, avoiding judgment and maintaining a commitment to achieving the best possible outcome.

If you or someone you know is facing charges related to child exploitation or possession of child pornography in Indiana, please reach out to B. Hicks Law for a confidential consultation. Our team is ready to provide the legal representation you need during this challenging time.

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