Indecent Assault & Battery (Age 14 or under)
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 265, section 13B addresses the crime of indecent assault and battery upon a child age 14 or younger. Indecent assault and battery, also known as indecent A&B, is divided into two categories by law: A&B on a child over 14, and A&B on a child 14 and younger. This reflects the Legislature’s desire to impose harsher penalties when the victim is extremely young. The reasoning for this division is that children as a group are considered vulnerable, but children age 14 and younger are extremely vulnerable and are considered not capable in any way of consenting to or inviting such conduct.
Indecent A&B on a child under 14 is defined, by statute, as any indecent touching of a child who is 14 years old or younger. In order to convict an individual of indecent A&B of a child under 14, the prosecutor must prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
First, the prosecutor must prove the alleged victim’s age, specifically that he or she is 14 years old or younger.
Second, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant’s touching was “indecent,” or fundamentally offensive according to accepted standards of decency. This generally means that the defendant touched the victim’s “private areas,” which include breasts, buttocks, or genital area. This applies to men and women alike, and the genders of the defendant and alleged victim are irrelevant. A touching can be considered indecent regardless of whether the victim was clothed or unclothed.
In most assault and battery cases, the prosecutor also has to prove that the victim did not consent to the defendant’s touching. For indecent A&B, the prosecutor would have to prove a lack of consent if the victim was over 14. For victims 14 and younger, however, the law deems him or her too young to consent to any sort of touching.
A conviction of indecent assault and battery on a child age 14 years and younger carries a penalty of up to 10 years in state prison or up to 2.5 years in the house of correction. The statute also precludes a continuance without a finding and a guilty file as alternative pre-trial dispositions. This limits plea bargaining options for individuals charged under the statute makes jail time more likely for defendants who choose to take a plea deal.
In addition, a convicted individual must register as a sex offender with the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB). This has severe consequences. In many cases, the individual will have to registry with the SORB every year, and every time he or she moves or changes jobs. The SORB also classifies each registrant, and, if the SORB determines that an individual poses a high risk to the community, it can publicize that individual’s identity. Registration as a sex offender can also affect job and housing applications, and a defendant’s immigration status in the U.S.
Furthermore, even without a conviction, charges of indecent A&B can have a significant impact on one’s life. Professionally and personally, these charges take a toll on one’s reputation and are often highly publicized by the media.
For all of these reasons, if you have been charged with indecent A&B on a child 14 or younger, you should immediately contact the expert indecent A&B defense attorneys at the law firm of Altman & Altman. Our team of seasoned criminal trial lawyers can provide the assistance you need to face these charges and move forward with your life.
We begin each case with a free consultation to learn the specifics of your case and discuss your options going forward. We then meticulously investigate your case and consider all possible defenses. Our lawyers constantly monitor developments in criminal law so that our clients can benefit from the latest legal trends and techniques. We also look for police errors and irregularities so that any violation of your rights is brought to the attention of the court. We also help our clients mitigate the effect of their charges on other areas of their lives, and provide around the clock support throughout the process of resolving their case.
Altman & Altman has been defending against indecent A&B charges in courts throughout the Commonwealth for decades. With offices in Boston and Cambridge, we are easily accessible to clients in the Greater Boston Area. Our team of skillful attorneys provide our clients with the reliable and aggressive legal serves they need to resolve their cases as efficiently and effectively as possible. Call us today to schedule your consultation.