Statutory rape in Massachusetts occurs when a person has sexual intercourse with another person who is under the statutory age of consent and is not their spouse. Historically, the common law understanding of the term describes a nonviolent, non-threatening offense. However, this is not always accurate because Massachusetts has several statutory rape definitions and some involve abuse and coercion. The laws also contain aggravated instances of statutory rape that enhance punishment depending upon how great the age difference was. Massachusetts considers children particularly vulnerable to manipulation by others. The legislative purpose of having an age of sexual consent is to prevent manipulation by mature individuals upon less mature members of society; namely children. In Massachusetts, the age of sexual consent is 16 years of age. Additionally, an older law still on the books gives 18 as an age of consent see below. Many sex crimes have an element of force or assault, but general statutory rape laws do not require force or lack of consent for the offense to occur. Under the law:.
Statutory Rape: A Guide to State Laws and Reporting Requirements
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The Massachusetts Age of Consent is 16 years old. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 15 or younger in Massachusetts are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape. Massachusetts statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age The age of consent is raised to 18 if the victim is “”of a chaste life”” and the offender induces them to have sexual intercourse.
Massachusetts does not have a close-in-age exemption. Close in age exemptions , commonly known as “Romeo and Juliet laws”, are put in place to prevent the prosecution of individuals who engage in consensual sexual activity when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both partners are below the age of consent.
Because there is no such “Romeo and Juliet law” in Massachusetts, it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 16 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape , although this is rare. Similarly, no protections are reserved for sexual relations in which one participant is a 15 year old and the second is a 16 or 17 year old. The Age of Consent ranges state-by-state from 16 to 18 years old across the United States.
Click the map to view any state’s age of consent laws. The age of consent in Massachusetts is based on the following statutes from the Massachusetts criminal code:. Massachusetts has one statutory sexual abuse charges on the books which are used to prosecute age of consent and child abuse related crimes within the state.
The Laws In Your State: Massachusetts
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There are a number of factors that determine if a person legally consents, from their age to whether they’re incapacitated. Learn about consent in your state. Do you suspect that a child or elderly person is being sexually abused? Even if the crime took place years ago, there may still be time to prosecute. Find out if your state blocks rapists from asserting parental rights, such as custody and visitation, over children conceived as a result of their crime. Are you thinking of getting help but worried about confidentiality?
Find out how your state protects conversations between victims and sexual assault service providers. The information is not presented as a source of legal advice. If you need legal advice upon which you intend to rely in the course of your legal affairs, consult a competent, independent attorney. RAINN does not assume any responsibility for actions or non-actions taken by people who have used this information, and no one shall be entitled to a claim for detrimental reliance on any information provided or expressed.
RAINN does not endorse, guarantee or warranty the accuracy, reliability or thoroughness of any referenced information, product or service. Skip to main content. Rape and Sexual Assault Crime Definitions. Consent There are a number of factors that determine if a person legally consents, from their age to whether they’re incapacitated.