Indecent Assault and Battery
In order to prove that your conduct constituted indecent assault and battery in Massachusetts, the Commonwealth must prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt. First, the government must prove that the defendant’s conduct constituted an assault and battery on the alleged victim, meaning that the defendant intentionally touched another person without an excuse or legal justification. Secondly, they must also prove that the assault was “indecent,” meaning that the unjustified touching was of a private area, which could be the breast, abdomen, buttocks, or genital or pubic areas. Additionally, indecent conduct is also defined by how common practices are measured, so must be something that is fundamentally offensive and invasive. Lastly, the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant did not receive consent from the alleged victim for the indecent assault and battery. If you have been accused of an indecent assault and battery, it is important that you contact a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer to provide an aggressive defense and help guide you through the legal process. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has the experience you will need to help protect your rights and freedom. Often times, with the right attorney and under certain circumstances these cases can be worked out prior to trial and can involve a disposition that results in a dismissal of the charge.
An example of a case where the elements of indecent assault and battery could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt is Commonwealth v. Cruz, 93 Mass. App. Ct. 136 (2018). In this case, the defendant, a man in his sixties, was accused of an indecent assault and battery by a 13-year old female. The defendant allegedly told the alleged victim that he wanted to give her a hug but in a private place. He then gave her a hug in public and after brought her into a separate private room where he hugged her two more times. The defendant kissed the alleged victim on the cheek during the second hug, and she did not think it was strange because that was customary in people of European descent, which the defendant was. However, the last hug he gave the victim was lower and tighter around her waist, and he also lifted her shirt slightly, but not enough where it revealed skin. The court held that this did not constitute indecent assault and battery. The court reasoned that although the defendant did touch the alleged victim, the conduct was not indecent. The court went on to say that the test for indecency is objective, and the defendant’s intent is not what is important, but the nature of the conduct. The evidence which was presented was insufficient to convict the defendant of indecent assault and battery.
When a defendant is convicted of this crime, they may be sentenced up to maximum of 5 years in state prison or up to 2.5 years in a house of correction or county jail. Additionally, if certain circumstances were present during the offense, there may be additional punishments placed on the defendant. For example, if the victim was mentally challenged and the defendant was aware of this impairment, the defendant’s sentence increases to a mandatory minimum of 5 years in state prison and a maximum of 10 years. Also, if this is a second offense for the defendant, the mandatory minimum increases to a 10-year prison sentence in state prison. A person convicted of these aggravating circumstances will be required to register as a sex offender.
If you have been charged with indecent assault, it is important that you contact a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney immediately. The affect that an indecent assault and battery conviction can have on your future can be devastating as it is considered a sex crime. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has the skill and expertise you need to handle your case and achieve the most desirable outcome and has been putting their clients’ needs first for decades. Attorney Patrick Murphy has helped his clients achieve very satisfactory results with respect to indecent assault and battery cases. To contact the Law Office of Attorney Patrick J. Murphy today for a free and confidential evaluation of your case, call (617) 367-0450 or fill out the contact form on our website to provide us with information on your case.