Statutory rape is a charge of having sexual intercourse with a person who is not your spouse. This can be defined as any sort of sexual activity that includes non-consensual sex. Although it carries a slightly different penalty than committing a full-blown sex crime such as statutory rape, sexual contact with a person of the opposite sex that is illegal is still sexual intercourse.
Statutory Rape Cases in Massachusetts
Statutory rape cases in Massachusetts fall under a part of the penal code called the article below. It is classified as a felony and can face up to a five year prison sentence and a hefty fine if the charge is upheld. Even though there may be a gray area when it comes to the Massachusetts statutory rape laws, there are specific elements that apply to the cases.
First, the defendant and the victim must engage in sexual conduct in which the victim was either of legal age or of maturity Massachusetts age of consent. The victim can only consent to that sexual activity if he or she is of legal age. Otherwise, he or she can only consent if they are of “at least eighteen years of age.” The definition does state that the age requirement does not apply if the victim is a minor. In addition, the sexual conduct need not involve any nudity of the victim.
Statutory rape involves two separate cases. The first case deals with a person accused of statutory rape. If found guilty, the person can be held responsible for one count of either engaging in a sexual act with a person who isn’t their wife or husband and one count of lying to prevent the discovery of the alleged victim’s age. The second case, also known as a civil case, deals with the behavior of the accused after the occurrence of the alleged sexual act.
There are many statutory rape cases in Massachusetts. A brief review of some of the more common ones shows that most of the cases involve some type of voyeurism, or someone getting caught in an intimate relationship while being observed.
However, there are some cases that have nothing to do with sexuality at all, but instead, involve false accusations based on a person’s attractiveness or intelligence. People can end up with criminal charges stemming from incidents where they had no idea the other person was injured or that anything illegal was occurring.
Massachusetts has a unique system where a district attorney files the charges in accordance with a code that is laid out by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The code states that a district attorney can only file charges against people when they have direct evidence that a crime has been committed. Many times, victims try to recoup some of their losses or to clear their name, but this often proves difficult because of the fact that Massachusetts does not allow juries to take into consideration the nature of a person’s attractiveness, intelligence, or background.
This means that victims are often afraid to come forward, especially when they have experienced trauma. For this reason, it is easy to understand why many people would simply call 911 when they have been the victim of statutory rape.
Statutory rape cases in Massachusetts are difficult to fight in court because of the nature of the law. Because the elements of the crime are so vague, juries tend to side with the prosecution even when there is overwhelming evidence that a victim is guilty of statutory rape. The only way to win a case from this point is to prove your innocence on all counts. Due to this fact, hiring an experienced attorney who specializes in Massachusetts statutory rape cases is often your best option when you face off against an alleged perpetrator.