What is commonly known as child molestation involving sexual penetration between and adult and a child is described under Massachusetts criminal law as Aggravated Rape of a Child.
Aggravated Rape of a Child is considered a capital felony in the Commonwealth and is also a registrable sex offense. The statute for this crime may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 22B.
Legal Elements of Aggravated Rape of a Child
In order to be found guilty of Aggravated Rape of a Child under Massachusetts criminal law, there must be strong evidence of the following four legal elements:
- that the defendant engaged in sexual intercourse with the complaining witness;
- that there existed more than a five-year age difference between the parties;
- that the complaining witness was under age 12;
- the sexual intercourse was unlawful.
Sexual Intercourse Required for Aggravated Rape of a Child
Under Massachusetts criminal law, the sexual intercourse necessary for Aggravated Rape of a Child may be either natural or unnatural sexual. Natural intercourse means the insertion of the penis into the female sex organ.
Unnatural sexual intercourse means oral sex, anal intercourse, and other intrusions by another body part (i.e. finger) or object into the genital or anal opening of another person. Sexual intercourse necessary for rape, whether natural or unnatural, is complete upon penetration, however slight and regardless of duration.
Consent is Unimportant for Aggravated Rape of Child
Unlike the charge of Rape involving adult victims, the issue of consent is unimportant in cases charging Aggravated Rape of a Child. If the complaining witness was under age 16 at the time of the alleged sexual intercourse, it is irrelevant whether he or she consented.
Under Massachusetts criminal law, 16 is the age of consent for sexual intercourse and contact. The law recognizes that persons under age 16 do not have the mental or legal capacity to consent to sexual conduct.
Thus, even if the victim factually consented or agreed to sexual intercourse with an adult, such does not provide a legal defense or mitigate the crime of Aggravated Rape of a Child.
What is the Punishment for Aggravated Rape of a Child in Massachusetts
The potential consequences for an Aggravated Rape of a Child conviction in the Commonwealth may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 22A.
A defendant convicted of Aggravated Rape of a Child faces up to life in prison.
The law also provides for aggravating circumstances that subject convicted offenders to even harsher punishment.
These penalties may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 22B and 22C.
If the child was forced to submit to sexual intercourse, or submitted because of the threat of force and the crime was committing during the course of other enumerated offenses, as a joint enterprise, resulted in the child being restrained, involved administration of drugs to the child, or caused the child to contract a sexual transmitted disease, the defendant shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of fifteen years in state prison, and a maximum potential sentence of life.
Convicted offenders of this sex offense are also required, upon release from prison, to comply with statutory sex offender registration and mandatory treatment requirements.