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Massachusetts Law on Indecent Assault & Battery

In Massachusetts there are many different ways you can be charged with Indecent Assault & Battery. The charge you face will depend on the age of the victim, the circumstances of the crime, and whether it is your first offense or a subsequent offense. The types of punishment and defenses available to you will also depend on which charge you are facing.

What is an indecent assault and battery?

Assault and Battery is the uncontested to touching of another. An INDECENT touching includes physically touching a person’s breasts, buttocks, genitals, inner thighs, and pubic area. People have also been charged with this crime for touching a person’s abdomen or French kissing them. It does not matter whether you touch the person or the person touches you. For example, a man has someone else touch his genitals. He can still be charged with Indecent Assault & Battery even though he did not touch her but instead she touched him.

Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14

The statute provides that “Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 shall by punished….”

By law, a person under 14 is incapable of consenting to an indecent touching. For example, an eighteen-year-old boy digitally penetrates his 13-year-old girlfriend. Even if she consented and actively engaged in the sexual conduct, the law does not recognize her ability to consent. The boyfriend can and will be charged with Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14.

Punishment

If you are convicted of Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14 you face up to 10 years in state prison or up to 2.5 years in the house of correction.

Aggravated Indecent Assault & Battery on Child Under 14

An indecent assault and battery is considered to be aggravated if it occurs during the commission of another crime including armed burglary, unarmed burglary, breaking and entering, entering without breaking, breaking and entering into a dwelling house, kidnapping, armed robbery, unarmed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon, home invasion, or posing a child in a state of nudity.

You will also be charged with this offense if at the time you committed the crime,you were a mandated reporter. Mandated reporters include physicians, psychologists, dentists, teachers, guidance counselors, child care workers, probation officers, parole officers, foster parents, priests, rabbis, or leaders of a church.

Punishment

If you are convicted of Aggravated Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14 you face imprisonment in state prison for life or any term of years. At a minimum, you will face 10 years in state prison.

Indecent Assault & Battery on Child Under 14, Subsequent Offense

If you are convicted of committing a subsequent offense, you face imprisonment for in state prison for life or for any term of years. At a minimum, you will face 15 years in state prison.

Importantly, the first offense does not have to be an indecent assault and battery offense to qualify as a subsequent offense. For example, if you were convicted of Rape in 2012 and convicted of Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14, Subsequent Offense in 2018 then you will face a minimum of 15 years in prison because it is considered a subsequent offense. Predicate offenses include rape, indecent assault and battery, rape of a child, and assault with intent to commit rape.

Indecent Assault & Battery on a Person 14 or Older

The statute provides “Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age fourteen shall be punished….”

Punishment

If you are convicted of Indecent Assault & Battery on Person 14 or Older, you face up to 5 years in state prison or up to 2.5 years in the house of correction.

Indecent Assault & Battery on a Person 14 or Older, Subsequent Offense

If you are convicted of a subsequent offense, then you face imprisonment in state prison for up to 20 years.

Indecent Assault & Battery on a Person with an Intellectual Disability

If the person accusing you of committing an indecent touching has an intellectual disability and the prosecutor can prove you knew they had an intellectual disability then you face at least 5 years but not more than 10 years in state prison if you are convicted. If it is a subsequent offense, then you face at least 10 years in state prison.

Collateral Consequences

Regardless of whether you are convicted of Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14 or on a Person 14 or older, you will face certain additional consequences. In addition to possible incarceration, you will also have to register as a sex offender with the Sex Offender Registry Board and you will have to wear a GPS electronic monitoring bracelet for the duration of your probation or parole. You will also be required to give a DNA sample.

How can you help your or a family member when accused of this crime?

The most important thing for you to do though is not make any statements to police. Once this type of allegation is made, the police will either call you on the phone and ask you to come to the police station to answer questions, show up at your house or work and ask you to answer questions, or arrest you, read you your Miranda rights, and then ask you if you want to answer any questions. Nothing you say will change whether you are going to face charges. Once the allegation is made, it is nearly certain you will be charged with the offense. Any statements you make can be used against you in court, your words can be twisted, and your statements could lead directly to your conviction. The police do not investigate these types of charges to determine who is telling the truth and to exonerate you. Their job is to get your statement and then charge you.

If you think you are going to be charged with indecent assault and battery or have already been charged, contact us right away. In some cases, we are able to resolve the issue before charges are filed, agree to surrender you so you don’t get arrested, or start an immediate investigation that could have a significant impact on how your case ends.

Once you contact us, we will go over all the facts and circumstances and determine the best way to proceed. In some cases that means going to trial and others that means trying to work out a plea agreement that avoids prison time and the requirement that you have to register as a sex offender. The earlier we get involved in your case, the better the result will be!

At Sweeney & Associates, we are frequently representing clients charged with sex crimes. If you are facing charges, we can help you! Contact us at Sweeney & Associates today for a free consultation. You can contact us at (617) 328-6900 or reach us by email at mail@rsweeneylaw.com.

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