In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the crime of statutory rape is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Sections 22A and 23 and is defined as sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse with a child who is less than 16 years old. “Sexual intercourse” refers to penetration. “Unnatural sexual intercourse” includes oral and anal sex, and any other intrusion of a body part or of an inanimate object into a person’s genital opening or anus.
Given the seriousness of a statutory rape charge—a conviction of which could result in lifetime jail sentence—it is crucial to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if you or a loved one have been charged, or are being investigated for, this crime. The skilled attorneys at the Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, have the knowledge and resources to explain the charges against you, answer your legal questions, and inform you of your rights.
In Massachusetts, 16 is the age of consent. The MA law presumes that children under age 16 are incapable of consenting. In other words, the law assumes that no person under 16 can truly understand the physical and emotional consequences of having sex. As such, sex with a person under age 16 is still considered statutory rape even if the minor consents or initiates the act.
Moreover, statutory rape is a strict liability crime, meaning that an individual is punished regardless of whether he had a culpable mental state (e.g., knowledge, intent). Thus, if the defendant mistakenly believes that the minor is 16 years of age or older—even if the minor showed the defendant a fake ID, lied about his or her age, or looks older than 16 years—he is still guilty. Note that both males and females can be charged with statutory rape.
MA Statutory Rape Lawyers at the Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP
Massachusetts is extremely serious about prosecuting crimes involving the sexual abuse of children, including statutory rape. Conviction for statutory rape is punishable in state prison for up to a lifetime, and requires registration with the sex offender registry board. If you or someone you care about has been charged with statutory rape in Massachusetts, it is critical to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The criminal defense attorneys at the Greater Boston law firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, have decades of experience in all Massachusetts courts and we pride ourselves on our zealous advocacy.
If you or a loved one is under investigation or has recently been charged with statutory rape in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, contact Altman & Altman, LLP, located in Boston and Cambridge, for a free initial consultation. Our team of criminal defense attorneys has the skill and knowledge that comes with over four decades of experience defending individuals against sex crime charges in Massachusetts. We are available by phone at 617.492.3000 or at 800.481.6199 (toll free), 24 hours per day, 7 days a week - including nights and weekends. In addition, we respond promptly to all emails received by the firm.