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.

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