Age of Consent Questions for Massachusetts

Q&A on statutory rape laws, age of consent laws, sexual assault laws for Massachusetts. Ask your Question

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Statutory rape and child visitation

:: January 06, 2010 16:55

When I was 17 years old I was involved in a forced sexual relationship (cult-related) with a man 17 years my senior. We have a history of domestic violence, there were restraining orders; however, there were no charges filed for the sexual abuse. I became pregnant when I was seventeen, now he is bringing me to court for visitation. I don't think I should have to let my abuser see my child. He also has been convicted for domestic charges against me AND my child (assault with a dangerous weapon ) we both have been and continue to be abused by him (he just does it emotionally now) what can I do?

What you describe is not statutory rape. If the sexual relationship was NOT consensual but one of force and there has been abuse involved, this is rape and assault. The situation you describe will be handled by two different legal systems. Rape and assault is handled through a "Criminal Justice” system by the District Attorney appointed in your jurisdiction. The child welfare and custody issues will be handled through the "Civil Justice System”. We strongly urge you to obtain the representation of a Civil law attorney in your jurisdiction or county to advise you in the matter of child custody in the state of Massachusetts. If you can not afford to hire a private civil attorney, please seek help through Massachusetts Legal Aid Website. The mission of the Massachusetts Legal Aid Website Project is to improve access to justice for low-income and disadvantaged persons in Massachusetts through the use of the web and other technologies. Type in your zip code for information on legal assistance in your area. For secure, confidential, free assistance for you and your child in dealing with the sexual assault and abuse crimes, please contact RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline. There are two ways to get in touch with an adisor. They may also be able to assist you with finding legal representation.

AGE OF CONSENT

:: May 07, 2009 17:48

Well I live in boston ma and im 16 and my boyfriend is about to turn 21 ! Is it okay if we have sex ?

General Laws of Massachusetts Part IV Crimes, Punishments and Poceedings in Criminal Cases

Chapter 272: Section 4. Inducing person under eighteen to have sexual intercourse Whoever induces any person under 18 years of age of chaste life to have unlawful sexual intercourse shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Between a rock and a hard place

:: May 05, 2008 19:48

My son is 17 and is dating a 15year old. He will be 18 next month she won't be 16 till fall. I'm concerned they may be having sex. When they are at my house I've seen them laying on the couch downstairs. We've talked to our son and told him that it's not allowed. He now goes to her house where her mom allows them to go to her room! He said she calls him her son-in-law. He also told my husband that his girlfriend said her mom is "kinda a slut" (nice!) My son is doing very well for himself in school and is graduating with a good job. I've warned him to be careful etc. He has told me he'd only get communtiy service if he ever got in trouble with statutory rape. So my question is ... What is the bottom line if he is having sex with this girl now? What happens if he has sex with her when he turns 18? What do I do if this mother is allowing this in her home? He said she is going to allow her daughter to go with my son to Florida when school is out for a vacation. (unbelievable!!) H E L P!

Please share this information with your son. The bottom line is that the punishment for this is far more serious than "community service". Turning 18 years of age can be a major wake up call when it comes to culpability in a courtroom. Hopefully, the information in this post pertaining to the legal risks of his relationship with the 15 year old will help him make a tough, but mature decision as to his sexual partners and his responsibilities to follow the law. There is inherent legal risk and long term implications when adults engage in sexual relations with minors. Upon turning 18 (in most states) a person is considered a "legal Adult" in the criminal justice system. Young adults who grasp the importance of the freedoms we inherit when we follow the laws, will generally navigate the adolescent maze into their adult lives without ever seeing the inside of a jail cell. Unfortunately, those teens who take these freedoms for granted can pay dearly for their oversight. In Massachusetts, the law describes 18 as the legal age of consent for sexual intercourse. Under federal guidelines it is 16 years of age; however, state laws have jurisdiction unless a federal law is violated. Even then, a person can be charged under both federal and state systems. Even at age 17, a person can face adult criminal charges under the sexual offense laws in Massachusetts and in Florida. Juvenile court judges refer cases to adult court all the time. If the minor involved is under age 16, it is a more serious offense. After the minor turns 16, it is still a serious criminal offense in both states; however, the charges may be reduced to a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Ultimately, that is up to a District Attorney to determine. Any person can file a report with authorities. Some people (called Mandatory reporters) are required "by law" to report any reasonable suspicion of any potential violations of the law involving a minor. These people include any school employee, administrators, clergy, teachers, doctors, nurses, counselors, etc... It's not likely that "Community Service" would be applicable in this situation. Jail time, probation and/or a fine are the punishments for these crimes. It would be in your son's very best interests to contact the District Attorney's office or a legal aid attorney in your area and ask questions about the seriousness of this crime directly. In the state of Massachusetts a person under 16 years of age is NOT legally capable of consenting to a sexual act; therefore, anyone having sexual intercourse with a minor under 16 years of age can be charged with "Rape" even if the sex is consensual. See Massachusetts laws below


Chapter 265: Section 23. Rape and abuse of child

Section 23. Whoever unlawfully has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, and abuses a child under sixteen years of age shall, for the first offense, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, or, except as otherwise provided, for any term in a jail or house of correction, and for the second or subsequent offense by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, but not less than five years; provided, however, that a prosecution commenced under the provisions of this section shall not be placed on file or continued without a finding.

What is the definition of "Unlawful Sexual Intercourse" or "Unnatural sexual intercourse.

Together they are any penetration of the vagina or anus by a penis, tongue, finger, or any other object, or the penetration of the mouth by a sexual organ. It does not matter whether the person under 16 is giving or receiving any form of sexual contact mentioned above, nor does it matter whether the person under 16 is male or female.
Other laws in Massachusetts include:

Chapter 272: Section 4. Inducing person under eighteen to have sexual intercourse

Section 4. Whoever induces any person under 18 years of age of chaste life to have unlawful sexual intercourse shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.
This situation is all too common. We see this scenario a lot. Guys graduate and turn 18, while maintaining a relationship with a younger teen girlfriend. Everything seem great with the girlfriends parents and they seem OK with the relationship; then something happens, a misunderstanding, an argument, a fight, a breakup, an STD, a pregnancy; suddenly, the guy find himself being arrested on sex offense charges.

What Constitutes Sex

:: April 21, 2008 20:47

What constitutes sex. My Girlfriend is 13 and I am 16 and I know in the state of massachusetts it is illegal for us to have sex and I could get in trouble if I were to have sex with her. But my question is, what is considered to be sex and at what point can I get in trouble and also, is touching each other with our hands considered sex

You are showing a certain level of maturity in asking these questions. My hope is that you will demonstrate the same level of maturity in your decisions regarding this matter after receiving this information. Any sexual conduct with a child age 13 a very serious matter in Massechusetts whether you are a minor or an adult. The sexual urges of teens and the desires to explore those urges are understood by most adults as a part of growning up; however, another even more important part of growing up is learning to control our urges and act responsibly with regard to morality and the laws where we live. At 16, you could find yourself in very serious trouble legally, putting your freedom and future at risk if you continue down this path with the 13 year old. The law is specific and defines "Sexual Conduct" as follows Massachusetts: CHAPTER 272. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY, DECENCY AND GOOD ORDER

Chapter 272: Section 31. Definitions

“Sexual conduct”, human masturbation, sexual intercourse, actual or simulated, normal or perverted, any lewd exhibitions of the genitals, flagellation or torture in the context of a sexual relationship, any lewd touching of the genitals, pubic areas, or buttocks of the human male or female, or the breasts of the female, whether alone or between members of the same or opposite sex or between humans and animals, and any depiction or representation of excretory functions in the context of a sexual relationship. Sexual intercourse is simulated when it depicts explicit sexual intercourse which gives the appearance of the consummation of sexual intercourse, normal or perverted.

Massachusetts Statutory Rape Laws

:: March 16, 2008 22:53

My sister is 15, almost 16, and she's in a relationship with a 20 or 21 year old. I believe that they have sexual intercourse, and I want to know if that would be considered statutory rape. If it is, then what or how long would be the punishment. Also, my mom would like to know if she could press charges directly to the police even without consulting with my sister.

The age a person can no longer be a victim of statutory rape in Massachusetts is 18. If a 20 year old is involved sexually with a 15 year old, this would be considered statutory rape. In the state of Massechusetts, it is a violation of state law to "induce" any minor under the age of 18 to have sexual intercourse.

The definition of "Induce" is to lead or move by persuasion or influence, as to some action or state of mind: to bring about, produce, or cause.
Dictionary Source Retrieved March 17, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/induce
There are multiple laws regarding sexual contact with minors under the age of 18 and under the age of 16. A parent is legally accountable and responsible for the welfare, protection and lawful control of their minor children until they reach the age of majority (which is 18). If a minor child is being put at risk by the actions of an adult, (this includes interfering with parental authority, sexual activity, contributing to the minor's delinquency; ie. drinking, smoking, truancy etc...) or if a parent suspects their minor child may be the victim of a criminal act it is the parents right and responsibilty to file a report with authorities against the person putting the minor at risk, even if the minor does not agree or cooperate. The fact is, most teens are not cooperative in these situations and the police and District Attorney anticipate a lack of cooperation. The parent is not obligated to consult the minor before filing a report with police. This is something only the parent can decide. It may be appropriate, it may not. It really is a judgement call. Bottom line is, any 20 year old who engages in a sexual relations with any 15 year old does so in violation of Massachusetts state laws. PART IV. CRIMES, PUNISHMENTS AND PROCEEDINGSIN CRIMINAL CASES TITLE I. CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS CHAPTER 272. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY, DECENCY AND GOOD ORDER

Chapter 272: Section 4. Inducing person under eighteen to have sexual intercourse

Section 4. Whoever induces any person under 18 years of age of chaste life to have unlawful sexual intercourse shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment. CHAPTER 272. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY, DECENCY AND GOOD ORDER

Chapter 272: Section 18. Fornication

Section 18. Whoever commits fornication shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three months or by a fine of not more than thirty dollars. CHAPTER 265. CRIMES AGAINST THE PERSON

Chapter 265: Section 23. Rape and abuse of child

Section 23. Whoever unlawfully has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, and abuses a child under sixteen years of age shall, for the first offense, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, or, except as otherwise provided, for any term in a jail or house of correction, and for the second or subsequent offense by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, but not less than five years; provided, however, that a prosecution commenced under the provisions of this section shall not be placed on file or continued without a finding.

Help!!!!!!!!!!!!

:: November 19, 2007 20:06

I'm 21 and have a baby with my ex who is now 18. His mother is thinking about pressing Statutory rape charges of me. I know for a fact that she knew that we were doing it and yet said nothing. She has known for over a year and a half now. He was 16 and I was 19 when we first had sex. I want to know 1) can she press charges knowing she consented to it. 2) press charges after he turned 18. I know she's going to be doing it out of spite. I just need help.

It may be advisable to set up a consultation with a criminal attorney in your local area who specializes in sexual offense cases. The mother is within her parental rights to report this. There is a 6 year statute of limitations that begins at the age of 16. If she reports this to police, you "could" be charged under Chapter 272 Section 4 (below) even after he turns 18. The mother's knowledge and lack of action during the time he was a minor will not erase or negate state law. If she files a criminal complaint with police naming you as the perpetrator of a crime against her minor son, it will be up to the District Attorney's office to open an investigation and make a decision to either press charges or not. Once a report is filed, it is basically out of the Mother's hands at that point. If the District Attorney has sufficient evidence and information to file charges against you, they may prosecute the case. As a proactive measure, it would be very wise to speak to an attorney locally about the situation; getting this information on a local level is probably going to be the most accurate and reliable. A local criminal attorney may have insights into how these cases are handled by the DA's office, information that know one else would have. I know many people get a little queasy when someone recommends they see an attorney; however, the bottom line here is when your sick, you go to a doctor; when you have a legal issue, you go to a lawyer. It can make a difference in the outcome. In the law below, it appears a worse case scenario would be jail time and a fine not to exceed $1000. Best case scenario is no jail time and a maximum fine of $1000. Having legal representation will be important!

CHAPTER 272. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY, DECENCY AND GOOD ORDER
Chapter 272: Section 4. Inducing person under eighteen to have sexual intercourse Section 4. Whoever induces any person under 18 years of age of chaste life to have unlawful sexual intercourse shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.

statutory rape

:: May 29, 2007 21:21

im 15 turning 16 next month and my bf is 17 weve been thinking about having sex but im not sure if im gonna be ready before he turns 18 and what if I was ready before I turned 18 like if I was 17 would my bf get arrested?

The statutory age of consent in Mass is 18. If you are under the age of 18 and engaged in sexual activities it is a violation of the law. If you are over age 18 and involved in sexual activities with someone under the age of 18 it is a violation of the law. At the age of 17, there is great potential to be charged as an adult if arrested for this crime.

MA age of sexual consent

:: May 19, 2007 07:58

what is the age of sexual consentfor a gilr in MA to be with a boy over 18?

The legal age of consent to have sexual intercourse in Massachusetts is 18. Chapter 272 Section 4. Inducing person under 18 to have sexual Intercourse. Whoever induces any person under 18 years of age of chaste life to have unlawful sexual intercourse shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment. Induce is defined as: To persuade of influence somebody to do or think something.

hmmm?

:: May 07, 2007 23:56

If someone was to get pregnant at the age of seventeen(soon to be eighteen, but her boyfriend is sixteen(soon to be seventeen), can the parents press charges?

Yes. Parents could file a complaint with police. There really is no way to determine what a family court judge would recommend in this situation. There are several things that could happen. Any information we offer at this point is based on pure speculation and guess work rather than fact. Juvenile proceedings are closed records. A court may not find that it’s in the best interest of the unborn child or the teen parents to incarcerate anyone. A judge would look at the entire case and may order medical and mental evaluations of all parties involved. There may be recommended therapy, parent counseling, and if there is a paternity test and it is established that the 16 year old the father, there may be court ordered child support for the child via the 16 year olds parents until he turns 18. There is the issue of custody and visitation to be established by the court. Since a minor can not be bound to any legal contract, the parents would have to be involved in any court proceedings or court filed documents for support. These are just a few possibilites. There may be more issues the court would deal with.

statutory rape

:: October 17, 2006 16:47

when i was thirteen i got pregnant by my boyfriend which was 19 now that i am 16 and he is 21 can he still be charged with statutory rape?

Yes. There are two laws that apply. Please read them carefully. CHAPTER 265. CRIMES AGAINST THE PERSON Chapter 265: Section 13B. Indecent assault and battery on child under fourteen; penalties; subsequent offenses; eligibility for parole, etc. Section 13B. Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years, or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years; and whoever commits a second or subsequent such offense shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or any term of years; provided, however, that a prosecution commenced under the provisions of this section shall not be placed on file or continued without a finding. No person serving a sentence for a second or subsequent such offense shall be eligible for furlough, temporary release, or education, training or employment programs established outside a correctional facility until such person shall have served two-thirds of such minimum sentence or if such person has two or more sentences to be served otherwise than concurrently, two-thirds of the aggregate of the minimum terms of such several sentences. In a prosecution under this section, a child under the age of fourteen years shall be deemed incapable of consenting to any conduct of the defendant for which said defendant is being prosecuted. Chapter 272 Section 4. Inducing person under 18 to have sexual Intercourse. Whoever induces any person under 18 years of age of chaste life to have unlawful sexual intercourse shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment. “Induce” is defined as: To persuade of influence somebody to do or think something.

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