SB 53 amending the law on the crime of child seduction was passed by the Indiana General Assembly. Child seduction generally involves sexual activity between an individual who is 16 or 17 years old and an individual who is 18 years or older and in a position of trust or authority with respect to the 16 or 17 year old.
This bill defined “professional relationship” as being one where a person has a license issued by the state or political subdivision based on training or experience in the person’s occupation; or where the person’s position is one where counseling, supervising, instructing, or recruiting children forms a significant part of the employment; and the person has a relationship with the child based on such licensure or position.
An 18 year old or older person commits child seduction when they have sexual activity with the 16 or 17 year old where the older person:
(1) has or had a professional relationship with the younger person;
(2) may exert undue influence on the younger person because of the professional relationship; and
(3) uses or exerts the person’s professional relationship to engage in the sexual activity.
I don’t have a problem with the concept here. If you have authority, you shouldn’t be using it to have sex with teenagers. But, it did highlight to me the difficulty of drafting legislation in this area. Strictly read, I think the crime would apply to an 18 year old life guard hooking up with a 17 year old who goes to the pool regularly.
The lifeguard is employed in a position where supervising children is a significant part of the employment. The lifeguard may well have developed a relationship with the 17 year old because of his position. The lifeguard’s influence and attractiveness to the 17 year old could well be enhanced by the lifeguard’s status as (relative to ordinary pool patrons) a person of authority and interest. And, obviously, an 18 year old lifeguard is not going to be above leveraging the position to enhance romantic prospects.
Now, even if I’m right on the strict construction; I wouldn’t think any self-respecting prosecutor would pursue such a case. But, where possible, you really don’t want the good will of fallible humans to determine whether execution of your law is a good thing or bad thing.