Rape is commonly defined as unwanted or non-consensual sexual intercourse. Statutory Rape on the other hand refers to consensual natural or unnatural sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16.
Under Massachusetts criminal law, the crime of Statutory Rape is a felony sex offense and may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 23.
Legal Elements of Statutory rape
In order to be found guilty of Statutory Rape under Massachusetts criminal law, there must be strong evidence of the following two legal elements:
- the complainant was under age 16;
- that the defendant had sexual intercourse, whether natural or unnatural, with the complainant.
Sexual Intercourse Required for Statutory Rape
Under Massachusetts criminal law, the sexual intercourse necessary for Statutory Rape, 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 Statutory Rape
Unlike the charge of Rape involving adult victims, the issue of consent is unimportant in cases charging Statutory Rape. 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 conduct. 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 Statutory Rape.
Potential Punishment if Convicted of Statutory rape in Massachusetts
The potential consequences for Statutory Rape, if convicted, in the Commonwealth may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 23.
A defendant convicted of Statutory Rape shall be sentenced to imprisonment in state prison for life or any terms of years.
However, if the defendant was previously convicted pf the same or similar offense there is a mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 23B.
Furthermore, if there is more than a five-year age difference between the defendant and a victim under 12 years old or there is more than a ten-year age difference between the defendant and a victim between 12 and 16 years old or at the time of the crime the defendant was a mandated reporter, the defendant will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
This penalty can be found under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 23A. Because Statutory Rape is a sex offense, convicted offenders must also comply with statutory sex offender registration and treatment requirements.
If you have been accused of statutory rape and need an experienced Massachusetts Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer call (508) 213-9113 to schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of John L. Calcagni III.