Allegations of rape are serious and can ruin the accused’s reputation and livelihood before he or she is ever convicted of the crime. There is such a negative stigma associated with allegations of rape or sexual assault that, whether credible or not, allegations alone often result in loss of employment, as well as family members and friends distancing themselves from the accused. While so much damage can be done just from the allegations, the penalties for those convicted of rape are severe, including lengthy state prison sentences, probation, and registration as a sex offender with the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board.
In addition to limited employment opportunities for individuals convicted of rape, having to register as a sex offender negatively impacts educational opportunities and housing options, and imposes restrictions on an individual’s rights, including one’s right to vote. With the rise of the Me Too Movement, allegations of rape and sexual assault are on the rise with increased support for victims and accusers. Now, the accused seem to be in a position where they are guilty until proven innocent, and not innocent until proven guilty as the criminal justice system requires.
Unfortunately, people falsely accuse others of rape. Even worse, once the accusations are made so much of the damage is already done and may never be repaired. Given the seriousness of a rape allegation and severe penalties if convicted, it is essential to contact a qualified rape defense lawyer to represent you and fight to clear your name.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 22 (M.G.L. Ch. 265 §22) outlines the elements of rape and penalties associated with a conviction. Rape is defined as sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse with another person by compelling her/him to submit by force and against their will, or by compelling her/him to submit by threat of bodily harm.
Statutory Rape involves sexual intercourse with a child under 16 years old and is covered by M.G.L. Ch. 265 §23. Statutory rape laws are designed to protect minor children and prevent the sexual victimiation of minors who are unable to consent under the law. Aggravated rape includes situations where the accused and accuser are more than 10 years apart in age or the accused was armed with a firearm/gun during the commission of the crime. By nature, aggravated forms of rape carries the potential for harsher sentencing and penalties.
Charges of rape, statutory rape, and aggravated rape are all felonies with severe penalties for a conviction. However, the law imposes varying penalties for different forms of rape, including:
To secure a conviction for rape, the elements required to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt at trial vary depending on the specific charge. However, all charges of rape include the following elements: a) penetration of the victim by a body part or object, b) against the victim’s will or without consent, and, in most cases, c) the threat of or actual use of force.
Depending on the evidence and allegations, below are a few available defenses against charges of rape:
If convicted of rape, you will likely face a lengthy state prison sentence. Making matters worse, mandatory registration as a sex offender will restrict your personal liberties and result in a number of collateral consequences. Nonetheless, you still have rights under the law and do not have to fight the rape allegations on your own.
If you are in Quincy, MA, under investigation or facing a rape charge out of Quincy or the Quincy District Court, we are here for you. Founder of Riccio Law, Anthony R. Riccio, is a skilled criminal defense lawyer with experience representing individuals charged with rape in Quincy and all throughout Massachusetts. Contact our offices today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our criminal defense practice.