Statutory rape is prohibited by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Sections 22A and 23. "Statutory rape" is sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 16 years old. Unlike what many people believe, statutory rape does not apply to just female victims - it applies equally to male victims. Hence, this is why a female schoolteacher who has sex with a male student under age 16, can also be charged with and convicted of statutory rape. Statutory rape takes away the legal power of consent from the alleged victim: The law makes a "legal presumption" that if the alleged victim is under age 16, then he or she does not possess the legal capacity to consent to sexual intercourse. Thus, if a 15 year-old girl, who objectively appeared to be perhaps 18 or 19, emphasized repeatedly to another person (male or female) that she very much wanted to engage in sexual intercourse with that person, and the two did engage in sexual intercourse, the law presumes that she did not possess the legal capacity to provide consent. Statutory rape is what is known as a "strict liability" crime. This removes the requirement of a particular mental state on the part of the defendant: It doesn't matter if the defendant sincerely believed the victim was of sufficient age (even if the minor showed the defendant a fake ID.) If the victim is under the age of 16, the defendant can be found guilty of this crime. Important: Because statutory rape is a "strict liability" crime, the sincerity of the defendant's' belief as to the alleged victim's age being older than 16, will not free him from a conviction here, as sincere belief that an alleged victim was consenting would prevent a conviction, if the charge were just "rape."
The legislative rationale for this prohibition is that a person under the age of 16 cannot fully comprehend the physical and emotional consequences of engaging in sexual intercourse.
Particularly when it comes to sexual offenses involving children, Massachusetts law is very severe. Penalties currently in force provide for sentences up to life in state prison (obviously, depending on the facts of the case and the severity of the evidence.) Regardless, this is a serious charge and District Attorneys' offices prosecute them aggressively.
Who You Choose As Your Attorney Is Critical
Massachusetts statutory rape charges can bring devastating consequences, regardless of whether the sex was consensual or not. A conviction on this charge can result in a lengthy state prison sentence, ruin a person's life, and result in orders for sex offender registration status after release from prison. If you or someone you care about is facing a charge of statutory rape, we know you probably have a hundred questions to ask. Contact us for a free consultation. We can help you decide what, legally, are your best options and defense strategies. You need the best legal defense that can be secured. Do not engage in "guessing games" in hiring a defense lawyer here: These types of charges demand an attorney that is expert-level qualified, and who has defended these cases successfully for many years. If you're facing these kinds of charges, you're at a critical decision point. Make the wrong choice of attorney, and you may find yourself in prison for something you may not be legally guilty of. Don't risk your future. Contact us for a free consultation. We can help you realize what your best legal options are.
If you or someone you care about is in this kind of legal crisis, things are already bad enough. Take control of this situation, or it will take control of you. Contact us for a free consultation. We can provide you with the best, most aggressive legal defense possible.