Indecent Behavior With Juveniles: Louisiana State Legislature
Updated: Dec 6, 2022
The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections states that its corrections office oversees approximately 2,200 convicted sex offenders, and many of the offenders on this list were convicted for “indecent behavior with juveniles.”
As you might imagine, the state of Louisiana takes laws concerning indecent behavior with juveniles and child predation very seriously. Since Louisiana does not recognize ignorance of the law where child predation is concerned, it is extremely important to understand what constitutes indecent behavior with juveniles, as well as the attached punishments sanctioned by law.
Indecent Behavior with Juveniles: How Does the State Define It?
According to Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 14:81, Indecent Behavior with Juveniles includes the commission of any of the following acts with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desires of either the juvenile or the offender:
Any lewd or lascivious actions carried out on a juvenile or in the presence of any child under the age of 17, where there is an age difference of more than two years between the two persons.
The transmission, delivery, or utterance of any textual, written, oral, or visual communication showing or depicting any lewd or lascivious conduct to a person under the age of 17 or where the juvenile is at least 2 years younger than the offender.
What Are Lewd and Lascivious Acts?
Although Louisiana’s laws regarding indecent behavior with juveniles, as discussed in Title 14, Section 81, do not expressly define what lewd and lascivious acts mean, courts have argued that it includes sexual communications through any means, sexual touching, and even carrying out sexual actions in the presence of anyone under the age of 17.
Can a Juvenile Be Charged with Indecent Behavior Towards Another Juvenile in Louisiana?
The Romeo and Juliet Law concerning sexual crimes does not allow the prosecution of (or offers reduced penalties to) 2 minors who consent to sexual acts with each other. The law also allows an exception if one person is underage but still close in age to their consensual sexual partner.
Many states have the Romeo and Juliet Law, and Louisiana is no exception, according to the laws regarding indecent behavior stated in Section 1 of Part H of the aforementioned title of the state’s criminal code. However, the state doesn't offer a full pardon but a lessened sentence which could still include a fine and jail time.
Similarly, Louisiana’s laws regarding sexual battery, which are discussed in Title 14, Section 43.1, mention some exceptions in age.
Consequently, depending on your case, there could be a Romeo and Juliet exception. But you cannot know for certain without consulting an experienced defense attorney who handles Romeo and Juliet cases in Louisiana.
Legal Penalties for Indecent Behavior with Juveniles in Louisiana State
Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 14:81 states that:
Whoever commits the crime of indecent behavior with juveniles shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than seven years, or both.
Whoever commits the crime of indecent behavior with juveniles on a victim under the age of thirteen when the offender is 17 years of age or older shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labor for not less than 2 nor more than 25 years. At least 2 years of the sentence imposed shall be served without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
What Happens to the Juvenile Victim After the Offender is Charged?
After a judge has deemed that there is a valid reason for a case to go to trial, whatever happens to the juvenile depends entirely on the case. This is because the trial judge has the authority to issue any necessary orders to protect the child before, during, and after the trial. However, if the judge deems that the juvenile victim is safe in their home, they will remain with their parents or legal guardians.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Law on Indecent Behavior with Juveniles?
Louisiana’s law regarding indecent behavior states that the transmission, delivery, or utterance of any textual, written, oral, or visual communication depicting lewd or lascivious conduct, text, words, or images to a person under the age of 17 is a criminal offense.
According to Part C of La. R.S. Section 14:81, it is still a criminal offense if the communication is carried out via electronic mail, United States mail, private carriers, online computer service, internet service, personal courier, online messaging service, local bulletin board service, internet chat room, electronic mail, or personal delivery or contact.
However, Part D of that same section states that the provisions of the section do not apply to telephone companies, cable television companies, and other similar companies.
An indecent assault charge is an extremely serious one, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. If you are facing an indecent behavior charge, you need to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney specializing in indecent behavior charges.
Contact Us Today
Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case. The first consultation can be in person or it can be virtual, on the Internet. Call Gaynell Williams today at (504) 302-2462 for a free consultation as soon as possible. We will work around your schedule. New Orleans lawyers Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law have offices in Gretna and Downtown New Orleans by appointment only.
This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may affect your legal rights.