The Democratic candidate for attorney general said today that she would lobby to change Indiana's child seduction statute so it covers anyone with responsibility over a teenager.
Without the change, Linda Pence said, people who volunteer at schools and camps or work at places that give them authority over children might not be covered by the law. She called it a loophole . . .
Indiana's statute on child seduction covers guardians, adoptive parents, adoptive grandparents, custodians, stepparents or child care workers who engage in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual conduct, fondling or touching with children who are 16 or 17. Child seduction is a Class D felony that carries up to three years in prison . . .
Pence said she recently represented teenage girls seduced by an Indianapolis-area coach who was a volunteer and didn't face criminal charges.
The girls' families sued the coach, and the lawsuit was resolved through a settlement, Pence said. She declined to name the parties.
What Pence failed to explain to the media today was that criminal charges were not brought against the person in question because the sex she alleged occurred took place after he had moved to Chicago and was no longer working as a volunteer coach for the school. The age of consent in Indiana is 16. Even if Indiana law was changed as proposed by Pence, the person in question would still not have committed a crime. Pence also omits the fact that at least one of those alleged victims fought Pence and her father every step of the way and condemned the questionable legal tactics Pence pulled during this litigation.
If a reporter wanted to find out more about the case to which Pence refers, he or she will run into the same problem I did when I visited the archives for Marion County's closed court cases. The case files vanished, even though the case was just closed last year. Pence mentions that the case was resolved through a settlement, in this case a confidential settlement. What she doesn't say is that settlement quickly came about after the defendant sued Pence and her client for abuse of process, false light, invasion of privacy, defamation and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage in federal court. Both cases were settled days after the suit was filed against Pence.