Indecent assault and battery in Massachusetts comes in two forms: when the crime is committed on a child less than 14 or when the crime is committed on a person 14 or older.  In short, these crimes refer to an assault and battery (an unpermitted touching of another) on a person that is “indecent.”  Practically, that means that the touching was done in the “private area” of the victim.  

Type 1: Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14

To be found guilty of this form of indecent assault and battery, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

1. The alleged victim was not yet 14 years of age at the time of the alleged touching;

2. The defendant committed an assault and battery on that child (the intentional touching of another person without legal justification or excuse); and

3. The assault and battery was “indecent.”

The act is indecent when it is fundamentally offensive to contemporary standards of decency. This usually means that some portion of the victim’s anatomy have been touched (the private areas).  If the victim was under 14 at the time of the offense, it is irrelevant whether or not he/she consented to the touching.

Type 2: Indecent Assault and Battery on a Person Over 14

To be found guilty of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

1. The defendant committed an assault and battery on the victim;

2. The assault and battery was “indecent;”

3. The victim did not consent to the alleged indecent assault and battery. 

Can I be arrested for indecent assault and battery? 

Yes, an arrest warrant is not required because both forms of indecent assault and battery are felonies. All police need is probable cause that a crime has been committed.   

If I’m convicted, will I be on the sex offender registry? 

Yes. A conviction will also require a defendant to submit a DNA sample to the state’s DNA database and can also serve as a predicate “sexual offense” for civil commitment as a sexually dangerous person.

Am I going to jail for indecent assault and battery?

A conviction for an indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 carries with it 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 conviction for an indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or older carries with it imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or by imprisonment in the house of correction for more than 2.5 years.