Statute Of Limitations For Child Molestation In Indiana

A repeat sex offender can be sentenced to life in prison.

A statute of limitations is a legal provision that prevents a person from being prosecuted for a crime after a certain amount of time has passed. A statute will vary depending on the severity of the crime. Some crimes such as murder have no statute of limitations, while rape and other violent crimes can have a statute of limitations lasting about six years.

Definition

Chapter 4 of the Indiana Code (IC 35-42-4-3) defines child molestation as performing or submitting to sexual intercourse or deviant sexual behavior with a person 14 years of age or younger. That includes any fondling or touching, by either the older person or the child, for the purpose of satisfying the sexual desire of either the child or the older person.

Escalation

Child molestation is a serious crime, but it is also a complex problem. In order to resolve some of the complexities, the Indiana statutes set various criteria to increase the severity of penalties. In particular, child molestation is considered a Class A Felony under Indiana law, when the person committing the crime is over the age of 21, used a weapon to threat or force the contact, caused serious injury, or drugged the child without his knowledge.

Class of Felony

The child molestation statute makes the offense, depending on circumstances, a Class A, Class B, or Class C Felony. Each class of felony carries a distinct penalty related to time of incarceration, and statute of limitation. The minimum time of incarceration for the three classes respectively is, 20 years (Class A), 6 years (Class B), and 2 years (Class C). In addition, a second sex offense against a child is punishable by a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Time Limitations

In Indiana, a Class A felony has no statute of limitations. That means that any act of child molestation that involves a significantly older person, weapons or threats, serious injury, or drugging a child (without their knowledge) can always be prosecuted in Indiana. Child molestation as a Class B or Class C felony comes with a 5-year statute of limitations, although it may be extended a year for reasons such as the discovery of DNA evidence.