Allegations of sexual assault can destroy an individual’s reputation, both professionally and in their personal life. In Massachusetts, a conviction for indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over may 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). With so much at stake, it is important to hire an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer to help you fight against such damaging criminal charges.
Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 13H , the prosecution must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt for a defendant to be found guilty of indecent a & b on a person 14 or over:
NOTE: because the particular charge does not involve sexual intercourse, the element of consent is a live issue involving alleged victims that are 14 and 15 years old.
First, an assault and battery is the intentional touching of another person without legal justification or excuse.
Second, an “indecent” assault and battery generally involves touching parts of the anatomy commonly considered to be private, including the breasts, buttocks, and genital area.
Third, the alleged victim must not have consented to the touching (i.e., not an act between two consenting individuals).
Under M.G.L c. 265 s. 13H , an individual found guilty of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over can be sentenced to up to 5 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 is 2 ½ years in the house of correction. In superior court, the maximum penalty is a 5-year state prison sentence.
In addition to a jail or state prison sentence, an individual convicted of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over 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.
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.
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, Anthony R. Riccio, Esq. has extensive experience handling sexual assault cases in Massachusetts, including charges of indecent assault and battery, rape, and aggravated rape. Contact Riccio Law, LLC at (508) 226-4500 or click here to schedule your free consultation today.