A sex crime in Suffolk County describes any sexual conduct considered illegal under prevailing laws. Examples of sex crimes in Suffolk County include rape, sexual assault, all forms of sexual behavior with minors, open lewdness, sex trafficking, and so on. A primary element of sex crimes is the intent to violate a victim sexually.
In the United States, federal legislation makes provisions for dealing with unlawful sexual conduct, such as banning dangerous sex offenders from public housings and compulsory registration for sex offenders. In Suffolk County, state laws govern the prosecution of sex offenses, as detailed in Chapter 265 of the Massachusetts General Laws.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) supplies sex crime statistics and it is presented on a city-by-city basis. Suffolk County, comprising Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, reported the following statistics for 2019:
- Boston: The Boston Police Department reported 45 cases of rape. The statistics further revealed that 41 of the victims were females, with only four male victims. Also, 26 of the reported incidents occurred in residential homes, six were committed around the highway/street/sidewalk/alley, three happened in the parking garage, two in public buildings, two in the playground, and one each in abandoned structures, bar, nightclub, field/woods, grocery store, hotel, and rental storage facility.
- Chelsea: For Chelsea, the NIBRS reported that 21 rape cases, six cases of sodomy, 13 incidents of fondling, one case of incest, 27 cases of statutory rape, and 12 cases of pornography and obscenity. When categorized according to location,14 rape incidents took place in residential homes, six on the street/highway, two in government buildings, and one incident in a field/woods, hotel, and elementary and secondary school.
- Revere: In 2019, the city reported eight cases of rape, three cases of sodomy, ten cases of fondling, one case of incest, 13 cases of statutory rape, and four cases of pornography and obscenity. With respect to the location of the crimes, seven of the rape incidents occurred in the home, two in public buildings, and one each in the parking lot and bar/nightclub.
- Winthrop: The NIBRS reported two cases of rape, one case of fondling and two cases of statutory rape. Each of the rape cases reported took place in the home.
What are the Types of Sex Crimes in Suffolk County?
Sex crimes and their punishment under the Massachusetts General Laws include
- Rape: This involves the use of force or threat of bodily injury to compel a victim, above the age of consent (16 years), to submit to sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse. The Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 22
- Statutory Rape: This is defined under the law as engaging in sexual acts with a person considered a minor. In Suffolk County, engaging a person under the age of 16 in sexual activities constitutes statutory rape. Chapter 265, Section 22A of the state general laws imposes a life sentence or imprisonment for any number of years in the state prison for having sexual intercourse with a child under the age Of 16, in a natural way or otherwise, and compelling such minor to give-in forcefully while threatening to impose bodily injury or harm. Negligence on the part of the person responsible for the child's safety and care is also punishable under Chapter 260 subsection 4C 1/ 2.
For cases where the defendant induces a chaste victim below the age of 18 into unlawful sexual activity, the law states that such an offender shall be sentenced to not more than three years in state prison or not more than two years and a half in jail or house of correction, or fined an amount not above $1000, or by both such imprisonment and fine.
In cases involving minors, legal proceedings are kept off the file and are not continued without a factual finding.
- Drugging For Sexual Intercourse: Intentionally administering a drug, or other substance to a person, directly or otherwise, to render such person stupefied, powerless, or unconscious to engage in any form of sexual activity with the person, constitutes a sex crime, punishable by a minimum of ten years to life imprisonment in the state prison.
- Child Pornography is defined as the possession, use, and distribution of such content depicting or suggesting sexual activities involving a minor. Under the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 Sections 29A, 29B, and 29C, sex offenses under the child pornography category include
- Knowingly exhibiting and posing a child under the age of 18 in a nude state to capture and reproduce such in visual materials or for live sexual performances. It is an offense punishable by imprisonment in state prison for ten to 20 years, or by a fine between $10,000 to $50,000, or by both imprisonment and fine.
- The intentional distribution of child pornography materials for economic gains will result in a state prison term between 10 to twenty years, or a fine between $10,000 to $50,000 or an amount three times the financial gain from such activity, whichever is greater, or both prison term and fine.
- The intentional purchase of child pornography contents and materials attracts a punishment of imprisonment in state prison for a maximum of five years, or in a jail or correctional house for at most two years and a half, or a fine between $1,000 and $10,000, or by both imprisonment and fine for a first time offender. A second-time offender is punishable by a minimum state prison sentence of 5 years, or a fine between $5,000 and $20,000, or by fine and imprisonment. For third and subsequent offenders, the law stipulates a state prison term of not less than ten years, or a fine between $10,000 and $30,000, or both imprisonment and fine.
- Possession And Dissemination of Obscene Materials And Contents: Obscene contents include such things that appeal to the inappropriate sexual interests of an average person by the standards obtainable in the location in question or represent offensive sexual conduct. For disseminating or possessing such content, the law imposes a state prison sentence not more than five years or jail or correctional house sentence of at most two years and a half, or a fine between $1,000 and $10,000 for a first offender, between $5,000 and $20,000 for a second offender, and between $10,000 and $30,000 for a third and subsequent offender, or both imprisonment and fine as appropriate.
- Illegal Surveillance, Photographing, and Videotaping intimate body parts, or Partially or fully nude persons and distribution of same: For engaging in acts such as willfully photographing, videotaping, or surveilling a partially or totally nude person, or other intimate body parts without the knowledge of such person violates the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272, Section 105 and is punishable by a state prison sentence ranging from a minimum of five years, or a minimum of two and a half years in a correctional house, or a fine not more than $10,000, or by both such appropriate fine and prison term.
Although certain classes of rape offenders may be released on bail, those with a history of rape and violence may be denied bail and remanded in custody to keep society safe.
What Crimes Require Sex Offender Registration in Suffolk County?
Under Massachusetts Law, offenders that have been convicted for sex trafficking, rape, administering drugs on a person to have sexual intercourse, indecent assault, kidnapping, battery, and other forms of serious sex crimes are required to register in the sex offender registry.
A sex offender registry is a centralized and digitalized record of all sex offenders who qualify to be listed on the registry. The information collected by sex offenders registries includes the sex offender's name, nicknames, date of birth, place of birth, gender, race, height, weight, hair color, eye color, social security number, home and secondary addresses, workplace address (institution address for students), a photograph and fingerprints, information relating to the offense such as description, place of crime, date of crime, and the sentence served, helpful information on the risk of repeating the offenses.
Counties in Massachusetts do not typically maintain individual sex offenders registry. Instead, they use the statewide sex offenders registry. The state’s Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) maintains the registry by enrolling and classifying offenders based on their likelihood of repeating the offenses. The SORB also updates the offenders' database and keeps the general public updated to avoid further falling victims to sexual predators. The SORB in Massachusetts can be reached at:
P.O. Box 392
North Billerica, MA
Phone: (978) 740-6400
(Open Monday to Friday, 8:00 am. to 5:00 pm.)
The United States Department of Justice also provides a Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website. Members of the public may make nationwide and location-specific searches for sex offenders, sex crime classifications, and sex crime statistics. The database cuts across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, United States territories, and the Indian Country.
sex offenders in Massachusetts are classified into three categories, Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 sex offenders.
- Level 1 sex offenders are low risk for re-offending and do not pose severe dangers to the members of the public. Their information is not made public and is only made available to certain government agencies and departments.
- Level 2 sex offenders: These offenders have been found to have a moderate likelihood of re-offending and pose a moderate level of danger to the public. Only the information of level 2 offenders classified after July 2013 are available to the public. The full list of all level 2 offenders, including those classified before July 2013, is accessible by the police department and through authorized SORB requests.
- Level 3 sex offenders are considered highly dangerous and have a high chance of recommitting sexual offenses. Their information is publicly accessible online and through local police departments.
Only level 3 and level 2 offenders classified from July 2013 are required to register as sex offenders. Failing to register as a sex offender is punishable under state laws. Massachusetts provides useful information on the category of offenders who have to register as sex offenders and other essential guidelines.
What Is a Sex Crimes Defense Attorney?
A sex crimes attorney specializes in representing individuals charged with sex crimes. Sex crime attorneys act in accordance with the laws to ensure their clients get a fair hearing and protect them from the risk of self-incrimination or unfair conviction. A conviction for a sex crime may cause severe strain on family members, social, and professional relationships. More so if the accused is wrongfully convicted.
In contrast to other criminal defense lawyers, a sex crimes lawyer has experience working specifically in sex crime cases and is best suited to defend the accused and cast doubts at the prosecutor’s case or evidence.
How does a Sex Crime Defense Attorney Work?
Sex crime attorneys may interview their clients to hear their side of the story, a fundamental step for an effective defense plan that may assert
- Consent: Except there is unassailable evidence to prove the contrary, sex crime defense lawyers usually try to prove that the incident(s) in question took place on both parties' mutual consent.
- Defense Alibi: the defense may submit evidence to show that the accused could not have been at the crime scene because they were somewhere else with other people who may corroborate their claim.
- Intent: In sexual misconduct cases involving professionals such as healthcare workers, a sex crime defense attorney may argue that the incident in question happened subconsciously while their clients were performing their professional practice. This strategy might be useful if the incident occurred once or a few times and exclusively involved inappropriate touching in a work environment. These factors may help to argue that the event happened within the context of work-related action.