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Massachusetts G.L. c. 265 § 26A: Kidnapping of a Minor or Incompetent by Relative

The offense of kidnapping generally is governed by Massachusetts General Laws chapter 265 section 26. This offense as it relates to the kidnapping of a minor or incompetent person by a relative is dealt with specifically under its own statutory section pursuant to chapter 265 section 26A.

The statute defines this particular kidnapping as follows:

“Whoever, being a relative of a child less than eighteen years old, without lawful authority, holds or intends to hold such a child permanently or for a protracted period, or takes or entices such a child from his lawful custodian, or takes or entices from lawful custody any incompetent person or other person entrusted by authority of law to the custody of another person or institution…”

In order to be convicted under this statute the Commonwealth must prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

First, the person charged must be a relative of the minor child or incompetent person as this statute specifically pertains only to those individuals sharing this relationship. Further, a minor child is defined under the statute as a child under 18 years of age.

Additionally, the Commonwealth must prove that the Defendant intended to hold the child or incompetent person permanently or for a prolonged period.


The potential punishment for a kidnapping of this nature as provided by G.L. c. 265 section 26A are relatively less severe then those punishments potentially imposed for kidnapping generally under by G.L. c. 265 section 26.

This statute provides that a person convicted of this offense may face imprisonment in the house of correction for up to 1 year or a fine of up to $1,000, or both imprisonment and such a fine.

However, the statute does provide for enhanced penalties under this section where the offense involves taking or holding a minor child outside of the Commonwealth, or exposing the minor or incompetent person to risks which endanger their safety.

These enhanced penalties include imprisonment in the state prison for up to 5 years or a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Given the varying nature of kidnapping charges, as well as the different statutes governing these charges and the significant differences in the potential punishments accompanying these charges, it is important to consult with a criminal law attorney experienced in defending kidnapping cases who can help you explore your defenses and receive the best possible disposition for such an offense.

Massachusetts Assault and Battery Attorney 617-263-6800

Attorney Stephen Neyman represents individuals charged with various criminal offenses throughout the state of Massachusetts. Attorney Neyman has decades of experience defending against these types of charges and is a fierce advocate who will help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call Attorney Neyman’s office at 617-263-6800 or send him an e-mail today.

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