Massachusetts Sexual Assault Laws

In Massachusetts, sexual assault is defined as any crime in which the offender subjects the victim to sexual touching that is unwanted and offensive. The unwanted sex act is one that is forced upon someone, whether it is penetration or simply sexualized touching. Grabbing a woman's buttocks without her permission, for example, would be considered sexual assault and not rape.

Are there Different Types of Sexual Assault in Massachusetts?

Yes, there are two categories of sexual assault – indecent assault and battery, and aggravated sexual assault. If any harm comes to the victims as a result of the indecent assault, it can be elevated to an aggravated indecent assault crime. Essentially, if any medical attention is required due to injuries sustained during a sexual assault, it becomes a case of aggravated sexual assault. With this will come much harsher punishments including longer prison sentences. Regardless, both crimes are forms of sexual assault involve sexual contact that is manipulated, forced, or coerced. Sexual assault will land the offender in prison and likely on the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Massachusetts sexual assault laws. See also Rape, Statutory Rape, and Sex Offenders and Sex Offenses.

Code Sections

MGL: Chapter 265, Section 13 et seq.

Elements of Indecent Sexual Assault and Battery

1. Indecent Assault and Battery on Person Over 14 (MGL ch. 265, § 13H): An indecent assault and battery is a touching that is “fundamentally offensive to contemporary moral values” including the touching of the breasts, buttocks and genitals. Maximum penalty is 5 years state prison or 2 ½ years house of corrections.

2. Indecent Assault and Battery on Child Under 14 (MGL ch. 265, §13B): A touching of the breasts, buttocks or genitals of a child under the age of 14. A child under 14 cannot consent to an indecent touching. Maximum penalty is 10 years state prison or 2 ½ years house of correction.

3. Indecent Assault and Battery on Person with Intellectual Disability (MGL c. 265 §13F): Indecent touching on person with intellectual disability. Maximum penalty is 10 years state prison, minimum penalty is 5 years.

4. Indecent Assault and Battery on Elder or Disabled Person (MGL ch. 265, § 13H): Indecent touching of person with permanent or long-term physical or mental impairment. Maximum penalty is 10 years state prison or 2 ½ years house of correction.

Types of Aggravated Indecent Sexual Assault and Battery

Aggravated Indecent Assault and Battery on Child Under 14 (MGL 265 § 13B 1/2): Touching committed during certain felony offense or if defendant is mandated reporter. Maximum penalty is life, minimum penalty is 10 years.

Mandatory Sex Registration?

Yes, in some cases on the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board. Sex offenders who intentionally do not comply with the mandatory registration requirements by failing to register or providing false information face serious consequences, including returning to prison or jail.

 

Resources

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact any of the following resources:

If you do find yourself facing a sexual assault charge in Massachusetts, you may wish to contact a criminal defense attorney for assistance.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.