Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14
Criminal charges involving allegations of sexual assault can completely damage an individual’s reputation in both their personal and professional life. In Massachusetts, a conviction for charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 will almost certainly result in a jail or state prison sentence and a requirement to register as a sex offender with the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB).
What are Elements of an Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14 case?
To be found guilty of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 13B, the prosecution must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- (1) The defendant committed an assault and battery on a child.
- (2) The assault and battery was “indecent,” and
- (3) The child was under the age of 14 at the time of the assault.
To better understand each element, let us break them down
First, an assault and battery is the intentional touching of another person without legal justification or excuse.
Second, the assault and battery must be “indecent” as that term is commonly understood. Generally, an indecent assault and battery involves touching parts of the anatomy commonly considered to be private.
Third, the alleged victim must’ve been under the age of 14 at the time of the assault. If the alleged victim was under 14 years old, it is immaterial whether there was consent.
Potential Penalties for Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14
Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 265 §13B, an individual found guilty of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 can be sentenced to up to 10 years in state prison or 2 ½ years in the house of correction. The potential penalties are determined by whether the case is prosecuted in district court or Indicted and prosecuted in superior court. In district court, the maximum penalty for a single charge of indecent a&b on a child under 14 is 2 ½ years in the house of correction / county jail. In superior court, the maximum penalty is a 10-year state prison sentence.
In addition to a jail or state prison sentence, an individual convicted of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 will likely be on probation following their release and subject to a number of terms and conditions. Additionally, the defendant will be required to register as a sex offender with the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) and maintain compliance with the reporting requirements.
What are the levels of sexual offender registration?
The Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) classifies sex offenders into three different levels: Level 1 (low risk); Level 2 (moderate risk); and Level 3 (high risk). The level of classification is based on the SORB’s determination of the offender’s level of danger and likelihood of reoffending.
The initial classification by SORB is considered preliminary and not available to the victim(s) or the public. Within 20 days of the preliminary classification, the offender must accept the classification and waive their right to a hearing and appeal OR request a hearing to appeal the preliminary classification. Acceptance of the classification in writing or failing to respond within 20 days makes the preliminary classification final.
Once the Sex Offender Registry Board notifies the offender in writing of their final classification, the offender must then register with SORB as Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 sex offender. The offender has the right to appeal the final classification within 30 days of notice in superior court.
Are you under investigation for or facing sexual assault charges in Massachusetts?
If you are under investigation for sexual assault, do not speak to or meet with the police before hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. Although sexual assault allegations are damaging to one’s reputation and suspects often want to speak to the police in an attempt to clear their name, waiving your constitutional right to remain silent may prove costly in a criminal case involving sexual assault charges.
As a criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor with the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, Founder / Lead Attorney Anthony R. Riccio has extensive experience handling sexual assault cases in Massachusetts, including charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, rape, and statutory rape. Contact Riccio Law, LLC at (508) 226-4500 or click here to schedule your free consultation today.