Indecent Assault & Battery On A Child Under 14
Because it involves the possible sexual victimization of children, the crime of Indecent Assault and Battery Upon A Child Under 14 is dealt with very severely by prosecutors and the courts. This crime is governed by Chapter 265, Section 13B of the Massachusetts General Laws and the punishment following a conviction is anything but light: A person convicted of this offense faces a sentence of up to ten years in a state prison, or up to 2 ½ years in County Jail/House of Corrections. These punishments don’t even include substantial fines as well as mandatory registration as a Sex Offender with the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB.)
What actions constitute this crime? As the material on our Assault and Battery Page makes clear, a typical assault and battery involves an unconsented-to and unjustified touching of another person. An indecent assault and battery on a child is an intentional and otherwise unjustified physical contact or touching of the genitals or private bodily areas of a child. These private bodily areas or “private parts” as often referred to, include, but are not necessarily limited to, breasts, the abdomen, buttocks, or pubic areas of a girl, or the buttocks, pubic or genital areas of a boy. Importantly, an indecent assault and battery can take place whether the body areas involved are clothed or not.
It’s important to remember that the Massachusetts Legislature has not surgically defined “indecent.” It is the courts that have interpreted this term, and what they have produced is very broad, basically ruling that “indecency” is defined by common practices between people and prevailing moral values. What does this mean? Essentially, it means than any type of physical contact that a reasonable person would regard as offensive or immoral, constitutes an indecent act. Some case law has also construed the act of inserting the tongue into a child’s mouth as constituting an indecent assault and battery – so the definition can be quite broad.
Elements of the Crime
In order to secure a conviction on this offense, the prosecution must show that:
- The defendant did assault the alleged victim
- The assault, battery, or touching was “indecent,” as construed by the above definitions and by current case law; and
- The alleged victim was under 14 years old at the time of the alleged act – regardless of whether the defendant believed otherwise, was told otherwise, or made an honest mistake as to the alleged victim’s age (think of a child who’s 13 years, nine months old, but looks 17.)
- No excuse or legal justification existed for the physical contact or touching (such as catching the child in a fall.)
The law deems that any child under the age of 14 is incapable of granting consent to any sexual act. Because of this, as with the crime of statutory rape, there is no legal defense of consent available here.
Your Immediate Steps If You Feel You Might Be Arrested
Police, District Attorneys’ offices, juries and judges all take these charges very seriously. If you or someone you know has been charged with Indecent Assault and Battery On A Child Under 14, there are certain immediate things you should NOT do:
- Do not say anything to police, no matter what they say to you, or what promises of leniency they might make to you. Do not talk with anyone else about this matter, either.
- Do not sign any paperwork or documents, until you first speak with a qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyer, and he or she has given you approval to do so
Your Next Move Is A Critical One
If you have been charged with this crime or are currently being investigated for it, (or if someone you care about is in that position,) you are going to need an extremely talented and experienced Massachusetts Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer to start speaking for you and handling your legal defense – as soon as possible. Call our office at Ph.: (781) 320-0062 or Ph.: (617) 285-3600, or email us here, and we’ll respond to you very promptly. Attorney William D. Kickham knows how to defend charges of Indecent Assault and Battery On A Child Under 14. Our first priority will be to thoroughly investigate the incident and examine the evidence that police have assembled. The legality of your arrest may be challenged, depending on Constitutional issues that might be raised from the details of police conduct surrounding the arrest.
Depending on the facts of your case, Attorney Kickham knows exactly what motions to file to exclude or suppress evidence that the prosecution wants to use against you. The most intelligent and productive strategy in the majority of these cases is to get the charges reduced to a “simple” assault. If that is successful, the offense becomes a misdemeanor rather than a felony, and the penalties and punishments drop dramatically. Very importantly, the prospect of mandatory sex offender registration disappears.
Attorney William D. Kickham knows from experience how to work with prosecutors to negotiate these legal issues. If the charges can be reduced to a simple misdemeanor assault, Attorney Kickham has in some cases even had the case remanded (transferred) down to a Clerk-Magistrate’s hearing (also referred to as a “Clerk’s hearing” or “Show-Cause hearing”) At this level of a judicial proceeding, there exists the possibility that the entire case can be dismissed.
Don’t Make A Mistake
If these cases aren’t handled properly, disaster can result. If you have been charged with this specific crime or any Massachusetts Sex Crime you cannot afford to make a mistake in who you retain as your defense attorney. A conviction on a charge of Indecent Assault and Battery On A Child Under 14 can literally ruin your life. Your name will be listed on Sex Offender Registry lists statewide. These lists are posted online and are widely available for anyone to view. This list will follow you for life. Increasingly often, notices about sex convictions are distributed to local police department and city/town offices. Your ability to maintain your profession, hold down a job, travel, and choose where to live will all be extremely compromised.
Don’t make a serious mistake in who you choose as your defense attorney. Our proven results are among the best in the legal profession in Massachusetts. We know how to very aggressively and successfully defend charges of Indecent Assault and Battery On A Child Under 14 and we know how to make sure you are legally protected to the maximum extent possible. We have been very successful in securing either acquittals on these charges, or in reducing the charges to eliminate the exposure to sex offender registration or a state prison sentence. Call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Ph.: (781) 320-0062, or at Ph.: (617) 285-3600, or contact us online here for a free initial consultation.
I will personally review the police report involved, review the incident as you recount it to me, and I'll give you my frank assessment of your legal options. I'll tell you upfront how strong or weak I think the police and prosecution’s case against you is, and I’ll tell you how I can help you. I will do all this as part of a free initial consultation, and you’ll be under no obligation from there. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by calling us. So be smart about your options, because if you face these charges, the stakes are too high to do otherwise. The sooner we can start protecting you, the better off you are going to be.
Westwood and Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer William D. Kickham has appeared as a legal analyst on a variety of respected media, including Court TV (now In Session on HLN,) Fox News TV-25/Boston, The Boston Herald, WBZ-AM Radio 1030, WCVB-TV5/Boston, Nightside With Dan Rea, Greater Boston With Emily Rooney, Money Matters Radio/Boston, and The Metro Newspaper/Boston. Attorney William D. Kickham is turned to by respected reporters and media organizations in Massachusetts as an authoritative expert in the field of criminal defense law, and the case results he produces for his clients attest to this. Call us today at Ph.: (781) 320-0062, or Ph.: (617) 285-3600, to arrange for a free initial consultation of your case. If the matter is not an emergency, you can email us here for a free initial consult and we will respond to you very promptly.