Statutory Rape in Massachusetts
About Statutory Rape in Massachusetts
Our knowledgeable and experienced Massachsuetts criminal defense law attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan are available to assist clients facing charges of statutory rape throughout all of Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area including South Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Somerville, Quincy, New Bedford, Taunton, Attleboro, Lowell, Woburn, Medford, Waltham, Wareham, Lynn, Lawrence, Wrentham, Dedham, Salem, Fall River, Brookline, Chelsea, Worcester, Framingham, Everett, Revere, Dorchester and Roxbury and all smaller cities and rural areas in Massachusetts.
In Massachusetts law, statutory rape is defined as any sexual activity between an adult and any person under the age of 16. It is important to understand that sexual activity includes intercourse with a minor, but does not necessarily have to have occurred in order to be charged with statutory rape. Other sex acts, and even fondling are enough to warrant an arrest.
The Massachusetts law defining statutory rape is exceedingly brief, and it differs from most of this state’s other statutes in one crucial way: even first-time offenders can be sentenced to “any term” in a jail or prison, up to and including a life sentence.
Needless to say, this gives broad leeway to judges when sentencing offenders, and may incline district attorneys to request unusually severe punishments for this offense (on the premise that the judge will knock a few years off the sentence when the time comes).
As a general rule, cases of statutory rape are pursued more zealously when there’s a wide gap in age between the suspect and the victim: a 40-year-old man bedding a 15-year-old girl is more likely to be actively prosecuted than an 18-year-old college student and his underage girlfriend. Lately, there has been a groundswell of opinion that it’s overkill to prosecute teenagers and young adults for statutory rape, since a conviction will affect them for the rest of their adult lives (and may even unfairly tag them with a “sex offender” designation).
Ignorance is Not a Guaranteed Legal Defense
If you have been charged with statutory rape, you can’t claim that you were misled by the victim: for example, it’s no defense to say that a 15-year-old girl claimed to be 18, even if she showed you a piece of false identification!
Charged with Statutory Rape? Call for a free legal consultation with experienced sex offenses trial lawyers.
If you feel that you have been falsely or unfairly charged with statutory rape, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan will do everything in their power to either have the charges dismissed, or to present countervailing evidence to the judge or district attorney. In many cases—especially involving first-time offenders—it may be possible to have a charge of statutory rape dropped outright, usually in exchange for payment of a fine and a period of probation or counseling (and possibly contingent on the agreement of the victim and/or his or her parents).
As a criminal defense attorney alone, Gerald J. Noonan has successfully handled more than 340 criminal trials. Attorney Noonan knows the legal strategies and tactics both law enforcement and district attorneys use when trying to get criminal convictions. He has criminal trial experience on both sides of a criminal case, which is invaluable when you are looking for an attorney to represent you.
No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away. Call our Statutory Rape Charge Attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan to schedule a free no-obligation case review and consultation at (508) 588-0422 and you will have taken your first step to find out how best to confront this important matter. You can also click here to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.
Our knowledgeable and experienced Taunton Statutory Rape Defense Attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan are available to assist clients facing charges of statutory rape throughout all of Southeast Massachusetts, including but not limited to Plymouth County including Brockton, Abington, Bridgewater, Whitman, Hanson, Hingham, Wareham, Halifax, Middleborough, Rockland, Lakeville, Holbrook, Avon, Kingston, Pembroke, Plympton, Pembroke, Hanover, Carver, Duxbury, Marshfield, Norwell, Hanover, Scituate, East/West Bridgewater, Rochester, Marion, Mattapoisett; Norfolk County including Quincy, Stoughton, Dedham, Weymouth, Braintree, Avon, Holbrook, Randolph, Canton, Sharon, Wrentham, Foxborough, Franklin, Walpole; Bristol County including New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham, Norton; Cape Cod, Falmouth, Barnstable.