Massachusetts G.L. c. 272, § 53A: Engaging in sexual conduct for a fee

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272, Section 53A makes it a crime to engage in sex or a sexual act with any person in exchange for a fee, and to engage in sex or any sexual act with a minor in exchange for a fee. The conduct prohibited under this statute is commonly known as prostitution or solicitation.

Under subsection (a) of the statute, a defendant who, in exchange for another person’s payment or agreement to pay a fee, engages in sexual conduct, or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct, may be convicted.

Under subsection (b) of the statute, a defendant who, in exchange for sexual conduct, pays a fee, or agrees or offers to pay a fee, may be convicted.

Subsection (c) of the statute criminalizes a person’s intentional participation in child prostitution.

Examples: G.L. c. 272, Section 53A

Under parts (a) and (b) of the statute, both parties to the “sex for a fee” transaction can be prosecuted – the person requesting or paying for the sex act, and the person accepting payment and performing the sex act.

Related Offenses

Persons charged under G.L. c. 272, Section 53A might also be charged under any of the following statutes:

  • G.L. c. 265, Section 23 (statutory rape)
  • G.L. c. 265, Section 50 (trafficking of persons for sexual servitude)
  • G.L. c. 272, Section 7 (support from, or sharing earnings with, a prostitute)
  • G.L. c. 272, Section 8 (soliciting for prostitute)
  • G.L. c. 272, Section 12 (procuring a person to practice prostitution or to enter a place for prostitution)
  • G.L. c. 272, Section 24 (keeping a house of ill fame, or a brothel)
Defenses to Charges of Prostitution or Solicitation

A defendant charged with prostitution or solicitation may challenge the Commonwealth’s evidence that the defendant in fact agreed to pay or offered to pay a fee, or agreed to perform or offered to perform a sexual act for a fee. Under the statute, it is not a defense that the sexual conduct never actually occurred.

Penalties

Where the defendant is convicted of engaging or agreeing to engage in the sexual act for a fee, the crime is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the house of correction for up to 1 year, or by a fine of up to $500, or both. Where the defendant is convicted of paying or agreeing to pay a fee in exchange for a sexual act, the crime is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the house of correction for up to 2.5 years, or by a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, or both. Where the defendant is convicted of paying for or participating in a transaction for sexual acts with a child under age 18, the crime is a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for up to 10 years, or imprisonment in the house of correction for up to 2.5 years, or a fine of $3,000 to $10,000, or both imprisonment and the fine.

Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer 617 263 6800

If you or someone you know has been charged with prostitution or solicitation, contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. Attorney Neyman has nearly thirty years of experience in defending clients against these and similar charges. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation at 617-263-6800 or online.

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