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Dissemination or Possession of Obscene Matter

The crime of dissemination or possession of obscene matter is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 Section 29. In order for an individual to be convicted of indecent assault and battery on a child under fourteen, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The matter is obscene
  • The individual disseminated the obscene matter or possessed the obscene matter with the intent to disseminate it
  • The individual had knowledge that the material was obscene

“Matters” that are regulated by the Commonwealth include printed materials, visual representations, sound recordings, and live performances such as books, magazines, movies, pictures, plays, dances, and photographs.

An individual has a defense to this crime if the defendant was a bona fide school, museum or library, OR if the individual was acting in the course of his or her employment as an employee of a bona fide school, museum or library or of a retail outlet affiliated with a school, museum or library that serves the educational purpose of the organization.


An individual who commits the crime of dissemination or possession of obscene matter can be punished by up to 5 years imprisonment in the state prison, up to 2.5 years in a jail or house of correction and/or a fine of between $1,000.00 and $10,000.00. The fine increases to between $5,000.00 and $20,000.00 for a second offense and between $10,000.00 and $30,000.00 for a third and subsequent offense.

If you or a loved one has been charged with dissemination or possession of an obscene matter or are being investigated for that crime, call the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Altman & Altman for a free, confidential consultation. Our defense attorneys are available around the clock and on weekends to provide immediate counsel.

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