COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients

Statutory Rape

Massachusetts has strict laws concerning minors and sexual intercourse, and sex crimes are vigorously prosecuted with harsh penalties imposed for those convicted. Different jurisdictions use many different statutory terms for the crime, such as “statutory rape”, "sexual assault", "rape of a child", "corruption of a minor", "carnal knowledge of a minor", etc. Statutory rape refers to sexual activities involving a person under the age of 16. The law concerning statutory rape is designed to protect a minor’s innocence and prevent the sexual victimization of minors until they are able to form consent under the law. The law dictates that an individual under the age of 16 is incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse, and therefore, the law assumes that even if the minor willingly engaged in sexual intercourse, the sex is not consensual. Statutory rape differs from the crime of forcible rape in that force or threat of force need not be present. The distinction here is based on the fact that forcible rape must be against one’s will, whereas statutory rape need not concern itself with consent because a minor under the age of 16 is deemed incapable of consent. This distinction characterizes statutory rape as a strict liability crime, and mistake as to age or identity of the victim is not available as a defense. In the event you are facing a criminal charge of statutory rape, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Massachusetts sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible. In certain circumstances, early intervention by a lawyer may be hugely beneficial on the outcome of a case.

The crime of statutory rape is defined by Massachusetts General Laws c. 265, s. 23 as when an individual unlawfully has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, and abuses a minor less than 16 years of age. The law stipulates that the crime is punishable by imprisonment for life or any term of years in either the state prison or house of correction. Any second or subsequent offense of statutory rape shall result in a mandatory sentence of 5 years upon conviction.

Romeo and Juliet Laws

Statutory rape exceptions, also known as Romeo and Juliet Laws treat consensual sex among teenagers far less harshly than in Massachusetts. Today, 38 out of 50 states have adopted some form of these laws to protect minors under the age of 16 who willingly engage in sexual intercourse. While the laws across state boundaries differ to some extent, virtually all states have established some form of exception by creating age gaps between youth engaging in consensual sexual acts that cannot be prosecuted or by limiting the sentence. Massachusetts is not one of them, therefore, any individual who engages in sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 16 – even if the other person is also a minor under the age of 16 – shall be subject to the charges of statutory rape and may face severe penalties including serving a life sentence in adult prison, court-ordered monitoring and registration as a sex offender. While this law applies to both females and males, in practice only boys are prosecuted.

Take a Bold Stance in Your Defense: Hire a Skilled Massachusetts Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer Today

Individuals charged with sexual offenses often face the full force of the prosecutor’s office, deeming it a necessity to hire a skilled sex crimes attorney who will be fearless in your defense. Ensure that your rights and freedoms are protected by hiring a qualified Boston, MA sex crimes attorney. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has been successfully defending clients facing a variety of sexual charges for over 18 years. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy will personally investigate every detail and piece of evidence and leave no stone unturned. Attorney Murphy will aggressively pursue negotiations for reduced charges or alternative sentencing for your Boston, MA sex crimes case. Let the Attorney Murphy help settle your worries and put your mind at ease by helping you understand the options available to you. Call now for your free consultation; (617) 367-0450, or visit the contact tab on our website.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Highly Recommended. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy absolutely helped me out in my time of need. When I met him in his Boston office he put me right at ease and explained the criminal process to me in a way I could easily understand and in a manner that gave me complete confidence. I was facing a criminal wanton destruction of property charge in Barnstable District Court. On the day of the case, he was at the courthouse waiting for me and my wife. Mr. Murphy handled the hearing in a very thorough and professional manner putting us through our testimony and making a powerful argument to the decision maker. My case was thrown out and I could not be happier with the service from Attorney Murphy. I highly recommend him to you as a skilled legal advocate!" Rob, Avvo User
★★★★★
"Excellent Criminal Defense Lawyer. From the first consultation I knew Patrick Murphy was the right choice for my criminal defense. He was knowledgeable of the laws and knew how to build up a strong defense for my case. Every phone call and email I made was promptly answered. When it came time for my hearing, Patrick was prepared and able to get the criminal complaint against me dropped without ever becoming charge! Would highly recommend this attorney to anyone seeking a top quality defense attorney to handle their case!" John, Avvo User
★★★★★
"OUI Not Guilty Verdict. Patrick Murphy provided excellent service as council on my case. He worked diligently over a long legal process that spanned over 3 years. He was able to take my case to a Jury Trial and get me a Not Guilty verdict through he expert knowledge of the law and expertise in cross examination of the prosecutions witnesses. He was very professional and available at anytime night or day to answer questions." Chris, Avvo User
★★★★★
"Highly Skilled and Professional Lawyer. Attorney Pat Murphy did a great job guiding me through an A&B charge, and most importantly getting the case dismissed in a very timely manner. He is very professional, returns call promptly, and did a great explaining his strategy and the legal process to me. I was confident throughout the whole process that I was in good hands and would receive the best possible outcome in my case. Would highly recommended Attorney Murphy." Avvo User
★★★★★
"I Felt That I was in Good Hands... and I Was! Mr. Patrick J. Murphy was very quick to respond to my needs. He was always there to answer any questions I had in a timely fashion, and he made me feel very comfortable in an extremely uncomfortable situation. Having Mr. Murphy by my side in the courtroom felt like I was at an advantage. He speaks with confidence. He doesn't stutter or pause while put on the spot. He treated me with respect. He listens. He always greeted me with a warm welcome and never wasted any time." Avvo User