Indecent Assault and Battery

Being accused of a serious and embarrassing crime like indecent assault and battery might just be the worst day of your life.

Criminal Charge in Massachusetts? Call Attorney Russell Matson at (781) 817-6332.
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And it isn’t just embarrassing, it’s also extremely frightening.  You are understandably extremely concerned about what could happen to do.

  • Could I go to jail?
  • Could I end up as a registered sex offender?

These questions don’t have simple answers, it really depends on the seriousness of the alleged incident and a number of other factors. The risks are real, but the good news is that we have been able to help people avoid these worst outcomes.

We can give you specific advice in a free and confidential criminal case evaluation. After speaking to one of our defense attorneys, you will have a better understanding of the realistic penalties you are likely to face if convicted.

But even better, we’ll tell you if there is a good chance we can avoid a criminal charge and get past this difficult legal problem.

Please call us today to discuss your case with someone who can advocate and fight on your behalf.

What is Indecent Assault and Battery?

Indecent Assault and Battery is also known as sexual assault. Under Massachusetts law, an Indecent Assault and Battery happens when one person allegedly touches another person in an “indecent” way.

Examples of Indecent A&B are: touching a person’s buttocks, breasts, or genitals without consent; and a tongue kiss without consent.  To be convicted on Indecent A&B, the Commonwealth must prove the following:

  1. That the alleged victim was at least 14 years old;
  2. That the defendant touched the alleged victim without justification or excuse;
  3. That the touching was “indecent.”
    1. An indecent act is on that is fundamentally offensive to contemporary standards of decency.
  4. That the alleged victim did not consent.

The legal terminology is deliberately broad to include many modes of indecent contact or sexual touching.

A conviction for Indecent Assault and Battery carries penalties of up to 5 years in state prison or 2 ½ years in the house of correction. In addition, a person convicted for Indecent A&B must register with the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB), and provide a DNA sample.

Indecent Assault And Battery On a Child Under 14

Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14 is a more serious crime, as it involves the inappropriate touching of a young person. The law deems that a person under the age of 14 is unable to consent to that type of touching, therefore a defendant may not argue that the victim “consented” t being touched.

The legal standard in Massachusetts for indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 is essentially the same as that of someone 14 or over, with the element of consent eliminated. And the criminal penalties are even more serious if you are found guilty.

To be convicted of Indecent A&B on a Child Under 14, the Commonwealth must prove the following:

  1. That the alleged victim was less than 14 years old;
  2. That the defendant touched the alleged victim without justification or excuse;
  3. That the touching was “indecent.”
    1. An indecent act is on that is fundamentally offensive to contemporary standards of decency.

A conviction for Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14 carries penalties of up to 10 years in state prison or 2 ½ years in the house of corrections.

In addition, a person convicted for Indecent A&B on a Child Under 14 must register with the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB), and provide a DNA sample.

Indecent Assault on a Mentally Challenged Person

If an alleged assault takes place on a person with limited mental capacity and the defendant is aware of that condition, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison if found guilty in addition to the above penalties that include sex offender registration.

Indecent Assault & Battery Defense Strategies

I fight sexual assault cases by first trying to get the charge reduced to a simple assault and battery. Depending on the seriousness of the allegation and the defendant’s record, sometimes the Commonwealth agrees to reduce the charge. If successful, you will not have to face the stigma of registering as a sex offender.

Was the contact possibly inadvertent, such as a brush by on a crowded subway? Of was the incident relatively minor in that it didn’t rise to the standard that a “reasonable” person might interpret as offensive, indecent, immoral, or inappropriate, beyond a reasonable doubt?

If we take the case to trial, I will explore all of these and many other defense options. I will look for places to argue that the actions do not meet the legal standard in the statutes.

These may include:

  • The defendant is completely innocent. There is no evidence the incident even occurred. Victim testimony is unreliable or suspect. (see case win, below)
  • The victim consented. The age of consent for sexual contact or non-penetrative touching is 14 years old, even with an adult over 18.
  • The touching was completely inadvertent.
  • The touching was not indecent and should not be considered an indecent or sexual assault.

Indecent Assault and Battery Case Wins

Senior Trial Attorney Andrew Berman represented a 32 year-old tutor at a local after-school commercial tutoring program accused of indecent A&B on an 11 year-old boy who was enrolled in the program. The allegations were that the client, on at least 5 occasions, took the student to a private area of the tutoring facility and fondled the boy’s private area.

The client, who had no prior criminal record and who had been involved in the educational field his entire professional life, adamantly denied the allegations and maintained that the boy was troubled and that it was common for tutors to take students on an individual basis to private areas (i.e., empty classrooms) in order to facilitate the tutoring process.

Attorney Berman filed motions to obtain the policies and procedures of the tutoring company, as well as prior DCF involvement at the home of the youth, both of which corroborated the information provided by the client. It was also determined from the records that, on at least two of the days that the assaults allegedly occurred, the client was not working or otherwise present at the tutoring facility.

Ultimately, as the client rejected any disposition which involved an admission of guilt, the matter was scheduled for trial. At trial, the youth – aware that his story would be exposed as inconsistent and false – refused to testify and the case was dismissed.

These cases are often extremely complicated and difficult for everyone involved. Please contact me for help and advice on these criminal charges.

We can help!

(781) 817-6332

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