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Court: Adults Can't Sext 16 Year Olds, but Real Sex Is Okay

A 40-year-old adult male, Sameer Thakar, lost the appeal before the Indiana Supreme Court over his sending a nude photo of himself to a 16-year-old girl in Oregon that he met online. What may come as a surprise, however, is that he had those charges dismissed last year, and the state had filed the appeal.

While two lower courts agreed with Thakar that the law he was being charged with was unconstitutional due to ambiguity, the Indiana Supreme Court had a difference of opinion.

Because Lawmakers Said So

In the lower courts, Thakar argued that it did not make sense that the state would allow him to actually have consensual sex with a 16 year old, but engaging in consensual sexting with a 16 year old violates the "Dissemination Statute." In Indiana, and most every state, it is a crime to show, or disseminate to, minors certain images, usually of a sexual nature.

Due to this conflict between actual sex and dissemination to minors, both the state trial court and the appellate court agreed that the dissemination statute was unconstitutionally vague and ambiguous. But, the state's highest court ruled that the dissemination statute was anything but vague, and that the wording, and plain meaning, were exceptionally clear. Also, the court did not find a conflict in the law, as clearly in-person sexual contact is different from the transmission of sexually explicit pictures.

The Indiana Supreme Court noted that the problem Thakar has with the dissemination statute is a problem for the legislature to fix, not the courts. Significantly, it noted that the case Thakar had relied upon, which had nearly identical facts, was decided incorrectly.

It's Only Just Begun

For Thakar, now that the appeals process is finally over, his criminal case can actually get started now. Though he is only facing one count under the dissemination statute, because it is a felony, he could be looking at a few years behind bars. Additionally, there may be more motions and more appeals before this case is through.

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