COACHING CONDUCT: Indiana bill aims to fill gap in child seduction laws

Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 6:34 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Indiana Representative Maureen Bauer says there’s a gap in current Indiana laws surrounding child seduction. Specially crimes committed by coaches, she says that’s why she has authored a bill hoping to change that.

Rep. Bauer says she was looking for more ways to protect children in our state and she found that there’s some language missing from the Indiana law. She says the current criminal statute on child seduction only applies to childcare workers who are employed by school corporations, charter schools and non-public schools.

HB1228 would expand that statute to include coaches from “youth organizations” that aren’t associated with a school, like club sports, little leagues or anything else.

The bill defines a “coach” as a person who provides supervision in a youth sports organization. If the coach is proved to have committed crimes of child seduction or child exploitation, they would face level 5 or 6 felonies.

“All coaches are in a role of authority, and just knowing this stories happen and there’s situations where coaches are in inappropriate relationships and its not included in our statute,” she said.

Bauer says she’s been working with the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking to help add those protections for children. She says, unfortunately, cases of child seduction and exploitation do happen in the state and she believes this bill will make more stories known.

“We realize there might be more stories out there, but they are going unnoticed,” she said. “It’s important to make this change because all coaches have this position of authority over our children.”

You can read HB1228 in it’s entirety by clicking here.