Age of consent bill stalled in Statehouse, lawmaker says
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A state lawmaker said her bill to close a loophole in the Indiana Age of Consent law has stalled in the Statehouse due to a lack of support of from other legislators.
Representative Karlee Macer of Indianapolis sought to add a criminal count of “indiscretion” to the Implied Consent law that would make it illegal for an adult over the age of 23 to be involved with child under 18-years-old.
Macer pointed to a 2016 IMPD investigation into three women who prostituted a 17-year-old girl, a case that was complicated by the teenager’s personal relationship with a 30-year-old boyfriend.
“Which is why I knew it was so important to start this conversation and really move forward on the age of consent in the state of Indiana with the detectives and the great people who are doing the jobs behind the scenes of protecting our children and seeing this day in and day out,” said Macer.
The accused women accepted plea agreements last month, negating a trial and the potential vulnerability the victim would face.
If questioned on the stand, she would face questions about the distinction between her consensual sexual relationship with a man 13 years her senior and the customers she said she was coerced into having sex with for money.
Indiana’s age of consent is 16, one of the youngest in the nation. Other states consider 17 or 18-years-of-age to be the appropriate age to make a decision about sex with an older partner.
“The gap in age of consent that we see around the United States…is different across the board,” said Macer, “but certainly here in the state of Indiana it is 16 and 17-year-old’s who are very vulnerable because pimps and people who are preying on our children particularly through social media websites and other forms of internet access they are preying on them because they understand the age of consent is that it is completely acceptable for 16 and 17-year-old’s in sex.”
In 2012, a 17-year-old girl told investigators in Martinsville that for two years she had been involved in sexual relationships with two different school district coaches, resulting in terms of probation and sex offender status for the men. It was based not on the child’s pre-consent age, but rather their positions of authority in the school system.
Authorities Friday released video of a Tennessee teacher, presumably on the run with a 15-year-old student he was caught kissing at their school earlier this year, at an Oklahoma City Walmart.
Tad Cummins, 50, and Elizabeth Thomas, 15, disappeared last month in what investigators classify as a kidnapping though evidence indicates the teenager may likely have been a willing participant in the plan.
Macer said she was unsuccessful in convincing fellow lawmakers that a line of distinction could be drawn between significantly older adults having sex with pre-adult teens and what she called, “young love.”
Her proposal would not penalize persons under the age of 21 if their partner is within four years of their age.
The westside democrat and mother of two said she anticipates her proposal being referred to a summer study committee where additional testimony from experts in the behavioral community will help convince lawmakers to close the consent age loophole during the next legislative session.