The Child Abuse/Neglect Law requires school personnel to report to law enforcement or Child Protective Services whenever there is reason to believe that any person/student is involved with “child exploitation” or “child pornography” as defined by Indiana Criminal Statutes.
It is “child exploitation,” a Class C felony under I.C. 35-42-4-4 (b), for any person/student (1) to exhibit, photograph or create a digitized image of any incident that includes “sexual conduct” by a child under the age of 18; or (2) to disseminate, exhibit to another person, or offer to so disseminate or exhibit, matter that depicts or describes “sexual conduct” by a child under the age of 18.
It is “child pornography”, a Class D felony under I.C. 35-42-4-4 (c), for any person/student to possess a photograph, motion picture, digitized image, or any pictorial representation that depicts or describes “sexual conduct” by a child who the person knows is less than 16 years of age or who appears less than age 16.
“Sexual conduct” is defined by I.C. 35-42-4-4 (a) to include sexual intercourse, exhibition of the uncovered genitals intended to satisfy or arouse the sexual desires of any person, or any fondling or touching of a child by another person or of another person by a child intended to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of the child or other person.
The Indiana Sex Offender Registration Statute at I.C. 11-8-8-7 and the Sex Offender Registry Offense Statute at I.C. 35-42-4-11, as of May 2009, require persons convicted of or adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent for violating the Child Exploitation Statute at I.C. 35-42-4-4 (b) to register as a sex offender.
Because student cell phones have been found in many Indiana school districts to have contained evidence of “sexual conduct” as defined above, it is important for parents and students to be aware of the legal consequence should this occur in our school system.