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.
"Unfortunately for our children, there are many adult care givers who have responsibility and control over our children who are excluded by this restrictive language," Pence said during a news conference this morning on the west side of the Indiana Capitol.
so if a teacher has sex with a 16-year-old student, that's a crime under the current law, but if a volunteer coach or teaching assistant has sex with the same student, there's no penalty. sounds like a massive loophole to me.
She cited two cases. In one, the Indiana Supreme Court last year ruled that a Switzerland County school bus driver employed by a private contractor wasn't covered by the child seduction statute since he didn't work directly for the school district. In the other case, 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.
if that second case sounds familiar, it's because gary welsh tried to turn it into an attack on pence last month. apparently the seducer in the case was an old friend of gary's who took advantage of his role as a volunteer coach to seduce not one but two of the 16-year-old girls in his care. one of the girls' parents hired pence, who eventually filed a lawsuit against gary's buddy.
for some puzzling reason, gary thought this story made linda pence look like the bad guy and blogged about how mean she was to his old pal. at the time, i noted that the story sounded like a textbook case of child seduction and was confused as to why pence was unable to get the guy convicted of that crime, considering that he readily admitted to having sex with two underage students. now i know why: because he took advantage of this "volunteer" loophole.
one other thing: note how pence declined to name the seducer. she may not like the guy—in fact i suspect she finds him repulsive—but she's not going to publicly drag his name through the mud. in contrast, gary welsh's post not only named his buddy the child seducer, but he also named one of the victims.
update: you know gary hates to be made a fool of, so naturally he had to post again, defending himself and his good buddy:
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.
ah, so he seduced them while working at the school, but waited until after he quit to actually sex them up? hmm... i don't think that makes the situation much better. (in fact, it sounds like child grooming to me.)
furthermore, where does gary get off talking about alleged sex? in his previous post, he reported that his friend admitted to having sex with two underage former rowing students (two—not just the one gary claims is "in love" with his friend). there's nothing alleged about that sex. everyone agrees that it happened. ¶