An indecent assault and battery is the intentional and unjustified touching of a private area, and an action that is “fundamentally offensive to contemporary moral values.”
Indecent assault and battery is divided into two categories by statute in Massachusetts, depending on the age of the alleged victim: indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 years old, and indecent assault and battery on a person aged 14 or older. The penalties for this charge are steeper if committed against someone under the age of 14, as they are viewed by the court as a more serious offense.
There are also different stipulations for indecent assault and battery committed against a person with an intellectual disability, or an elderly or physically disabled person.
Requirements for Conviction
In order to secure a conviction, the prosecution will need to prove that:
- the defendant committed an assault and battery on the alleged victim. Assault and battery is the intentional touching of another person without legal justification or excuse;
- that the assault and battery was “indecent”; and
- that the alleged victim did not consent to the alleged indecent assault and battery.
An indecent act is measured by common understanding and practices as one that is fundamentally offensive to contemporary standards of decency. An assault and battery may be indecent if it involves touching portions of the anatomy commonly thought as private.
If convicted of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14, the punishment is imprisonment in the state prison for no more than 10 years, or by imprisonment in the house of correction for no more than two and a half years. A prosecution under this section cannot be continued without a finding or placed on file.
If convicted of indecent assault and battery on a person older than 14, the punishment is imprisonment in the state prison for no more than five years, or by imprisonment for no more than two and a half years in a jail or house of correction.
If convicted of indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability, the maximum penalty is 10 years state prison, minimum penalty is 5 years.
If convicted of indecent assault and battery on an elder or disabled person causing permanent or long-term physical or mental impairment, the maximum penalty is 10 years state prison or 2 ½ years house of correction.
Further Facts & Considerations
Indecent assault and battery is considered a form of sexual assault in Massachusetts. If any harm comes to the victims as a result of an indecent assault, or the alleged victim requires any medical attention due to injuries sustained during this crime, it becomes a case of aggravated sexual assault. A conviction comes with much harsher punishments, including a longer prison sentence.
Defense Attorneys for Indecent Assault & Battery Charges
Being charged with indecent assault and battery is a serious allegation, with potentially life-altering consequences. We are experienced criminal defense attorneys with proven success in difficult and complex sex crime allegations. If you are or a loved one is facing charges, call us at 781-797-0555 today. We can help.