But lawyers for young defendants accused of having sex with 14- and 15-year-olds now can pose a defense against charges of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Public Law 216 creates a legal defense, nicknamed the "Romeo and Juliet defense," against charges of sexual misconduct with a minor. "The change in the law decriminalizes consensual sex among teenagers in a dating relationship if they are within four years age difference," said Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council.
The penalty for this offence is a maximum of 14 years imprisonment; no one may make, distribute, transmit, make available, access, sell, advertise, export/import or possess child pornography.
Child pornography is broadly defined and includes materials that show someone engaged in explicit sexual activity who is, or seems to be, under the age of 18 years; or show a young person’s sexual organ or anal region for a sexual purpose.
Landis said the law change arose from concern that the ever-widening set of crimes that force people to register as sex offenders was having unintended consequences.