Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

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What is Indecent Assault and Battery?

Accidentally rubbing against someone on a crowded subway train would not be considered indecent assault and battery, but intentionally rubbing the thigh of the person sitting next to you may very well be. This behavior may not only get you slapped or thrown off the train, but it also may get you put in jail. Indecent assault and battery is serious.

Indecent assault and battery is an unwanted sexual contact without rape. It may involve force, threat, or violence to the victim. The perpetrator of this crime has taken indecent liberties with a person without his or her consent. The person accused of this crime may be charged with both indecent assault and sexual assault. Many courts consider them the same, and the outcomes can be devastating for the accused. It is highly recommended you contact a criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with indecent (sexual) assault and battery.

Behaviors involving indecent assault and battery may include:

  • Touching the private portions of another person's body without their consent

  • Rubbing against an individual for sexual pleasure against their will

  • Touching any body part of an unwilling person in a sexual nature to produce sexual gratification

In Massachusetts, indecent (sexual) assault and battery is considered to be any crime in which the perpetrator exposes another person to sexual touching that is offensive and forced upon the individual against their will. The Commonwealth offers severe penalties for indecent assault and battery and even more severe penalties when the victim is a child. According to Massachusetts Law (Chapter 265), the punishment for indecent assault and battery includes the following:

Section 13B. Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years, or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2.5 years. A prosecution commenced under this section shall neither be continued without a finding nor placed on file. In a prosecution under this section, a child under the age of 14 years shall be deemed incapable of consenting to any conduct of the defendant for which such defendant is being prosecuted.

Section 13H. Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age fourteen shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by imprisonment for not more than 2.5 years in a jail or house of correction.

Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on an elder or person with a disability, as defined in section 13K, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years, or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2.5 years, and whoever commits a second or subsequent such offense shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 20 years. A prosecution commenced under this paragraph shall not be placed on file nor continued without a finding.

Section 13F. Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability knowing such person to have an intellectual disability shall for the first offense be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five years or not more than 10 years; and for a second or subsequent offense, by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than 10 years. Except in the case of a conviction for the first offense for violation of this section, the imposition or execution of the sentence shall not be suspended, and no probation or parole shall be granted until the minimum imprisonment herein provided for the offense shall have been served. This section shall not apply to the commission of an indecent assault and battery by a person with an intellectual disability upon another person with an intellectual disability.

Whoever commits an assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability knowing such person to have an intellectual disability shall for the first offense be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 2.5 years or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years; and, for a second or subsequent offense, by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years. This section shall not apply to the commission of an assault and battery by a mentally retarded person upon another mentally retarded person.

If you have been accused or arrested for indecent (sexual) assault on a child or adult, the consequences can be serious. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your family with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your case and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.