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updated: 10/3/2017 4:28 PM

Indiana court rules sending explicit photo to minor is crime

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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that while the age of consent for sexual activity in the state is 16, sending a 16-year-old a sexually explicit photograph is a crime.

The high court acknowledged the law's inconsistency, but unanimously upheld the law in its ruling on Monday, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported .

The ruling says a person who knowingly sends a sexually explicit photograph to someone under age 18 is sharing material that's harmful to minors, which is a felony.

Justice Mark Massa said the court interprets the plain text of the law. He also said that it's up to the Legislature to decide whether such inconsistency is judicious.

The ruling was prompted by a case involving a former Porter County police officer who allegedly sent sexually explicit photos of himself to a 16-year-old girl in Oregon in 2014. The case was initially dismissed in Hamilton Superior Court because of a 2009 Court of Appeals decision, which found the statute regarding dissemination of harmful material was void because it was vague. The state Supreme Court's decision means the case will move forward.

The state Supreme Court ruled that there's no conflict between the statutes because it's possible to comply with both simultaneously.

State Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, and state Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond recently led attempts to raise the state's age of sexual consent to 18, but the efforts failed.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.nwitimes.com

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