Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under Fourteen

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 13B makes indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen a criminal offense. An assault and battery is an intentional and unjustified use of force upon another person. An indecent assault and battery on a child is an intentional and unjustified touching of a private area of a child, including, but not limited to, the breast, abdomen, thigh, buttocks, genital or pubic areas of a female or the buttocks, genital or pubic areas of a male.

Consent is not a Defense to Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under the Age of Fourteen

A child under the age of fourteen is deemed incapable of consenting to any of the conduct for which the defendant is prosecuted under this law. Thus, like statutory rape, indecent assault and battery of a child under the age of fourteen is a strict liability offense, meaning that proof of absence of consent is not required.

What Does the District Attorney Have to Prove for a Jury to Convict You of Indecent Assault and Battery?

To be convicted of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of , the prosecutor must prove all of the following six elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The alleged victim was under 14 years of age, regardless of any mistake as to the alleged victim’s age by the defendant;
  2. The defendant intended to engage in the touching;
  3. The defendant committed the touching;
  4. The touching was harmful or offensive;
  5. The touching was indecent; and
  6. There was no justification or excuse for the touching.
How Difficult is it to Prove These Cases?

Due to the fact that the victims in these cases are very young Massachusetts courts have strained to find sufficient evidence to support convictions in otherwise dubious cases. For instance, conflicting and ambiguous dates in the victim’s testimony are not fatal to the district attorney’s case and can establish sufficient evidence for the jury to convict. Thus, if the victim’s uncertainty as to the actual date of the event can be on either side of her fourteenth birthday a conviction for this crime will stand.

Penalties for a Conviction of Indecent Assault and Battery in Massachusetts

If you are convicted of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen, you face imprisonment in the state prison for up to ten years or imprisonment in the house of correction for up to two and one- half years. You are also facing a sex offender registration requirement.

Indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen is a serious offense. Because it involves the sexual victimization of children, it is generally aggressively prosecuted by district attorneys and law enforcement officials. If you have been charged with this or other sex crimes in Massachusetts, it is essential that you retain the services of a seasoned, dedicated and highly-skilled attorney like Stephen Neyman. Our office has more than 25 years experience vigorously protecting and fighting for the rights of the criminally accused in these type of cases. Call our office today at 617-263-6800 or  contact us online to discuss your sex crime case. We can be reached at any time.

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