Sex crimes in Norfolk County are any crimes involving a sexual motive, including sexual and indecent assaults. The sexual motive may be apparent or attributed by law. Accordingly, there are some crimes with no obvious sexual motive, but the law categorizes offenders of such crimes as sex offenders. Besides possible bylaws or ordinances, sex crimes in Norfolk County are primarily criminalized by various Massachusetts General Laws.
In 2019, Norfolk County recorded 126 cases of forcible rapes and one attempt to commit forcible rape, a slight decline compared to the 130 cases recorded in 2018.
What are the Types of Sex Crimes in Norfolk County?
Based on the relevant Massachusetts General Laws, crimes classified as sex crimes include:
- Rape: This is a form of sexual assault involving forcible sexual intercourse or penetration of another person without their consent. Rape is criminalized by the Massachusetts General Law on Rape Generally. A person convicted of rape is liable to life imprisonment or imprisonment for any term of years in the state prison. Depending on surrounding circumstances, the penalty for a rape conviction may be lesser than life imprisonment.
- Rape and abuse of a child or statutory rape refer to unlawful sexual intercourse with a child under 16 years of age under the Massachusetts General Laws on the Rape and Abuse of a Child. A person convicted of statutory rape is liable to life imprisonment in the state prison or imprisonment for any term in a jail or house of correction. This form of rape does not involve force or a threat of force.
- Rape of a child under 16 with force describes the act of having sexual intercourse with a child under 16 using force or the threat of force. It involves sexual intercourse with the child by compelling the child against their will under the Massachusetts General Law on the Rape of a Child. A person convicted for raping a child under 16 is liable to life imprisonment or imprisonment for any term of years in the state prison. A prosecution based on this section cannot continue without a finding, which means that the defendant cannot reach a bargain with the prosecution to go on probation instead of fighting the case despite insufficient evidence to convict them.
- Kidnapping a child under 16: The law attributes a sexual motive to this offense even if the offender had no such motive. Kidnapping a child under 16 years of age refers to the act of unlawfully confining, imprisoning, or moving a child against their will. Such actions are criminalized by the Massachusetts General Law on kidnapping a child under age 16. A person charged and convicted under this law is liable to a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in the state prison or a maximum fine of $1,000 and a maximum term of two years in jail. An individual who kidnaps a child to extort money or request any valuable thing is liable to imprisonment for life in the state prison or any term of years. Penalties are more severe if the offender was armed or used a dangerous weapon to carry out the kidnapping.
- Indecent assault or battery on a person 14 years and above: An indecent assault refers to any form of sexual assault short of rape. Accordingly, a person who sexually assaults a person who is 14 years old or more, in any way, is guilty of a crime upon conviction under the Massachusetts General Law on the indecent assault and battery on a person fourteen or older. A guilty person is liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of five years in the state prison or a maximum term of two and one-half years in jail or house of correction.
- Indecent assault or battery on a child below 14 years: Anyone who commits any form of sexual assault, excluding rape, against a child below 14 years of age commits a crime. The penalty for such crime is provided by the Massachusetts General Law on the indecent assault and battery on a child below 14. A person convicted under this law is liable to a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in the state prison or a maximum sentence of two and one-half years in a house of correction. It is irrelevant whether the child gave consent, the act is considered a sexual assault.
- Indecent assault or battery on the mentally impaired: Anyone who commits any form of sexual assault, besides rape, on a person who is mentally impaired to the knowledge of the offender has committed an offense. Such actions are criminalized by the Massachusetts General Law on the indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability. A person convicted under this law for the first time is liable to a prison term between 5 and 10 years in the state prison. Second and subsequent offenders are liable to a minimum prison term of 10 years in the state prison.
- Assault with intent to commit rape: Assaulting an individual in a manner with a clear intent to commit rape is a crime under the Massachusetts General Law on assault with intent to commit rape. Anyone convicted of a crime under this law is liable to a maximum prison term of 20 years in the state prison or a maximum term of two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction. Anyone who commits a second or subsequent offense under this heading is liable to life imprisonment in the state prison or imprisonment for any term of years. A person who commits an offense under this heading while armed is liable to a minimum prison term of five years in the state prison. For a subsequent offense, while armed, the offender is liable to life imprisonment or imprisonment for any term of years in the state prison. However, imprisonment for any term of years in the case of a subsequent offense while armed refers to a minimum of 20 years.
- Assault of a child with intent to commit rape. Any person convicted under the Massachusetts General Law on assault of a child with intent to commit rape is liable to life imprisonment in the state prison or imprisonment for any term of years. Offenders over 18 years of age who commit a subsequent offense under this law are liable to imprisonment for life or any term of years in the state prison. However, for subsequent offenders given any term of years, the least term is five years imprisonment in the state prison.
- Inducing a minor into prostitution: Anyone who influences or cajoles a minor into prostitution commits a crime under the Massachusetts General Law on inducing a minor into prostitution. Such a person is liable to a prison term between three and five years in the state prison, and by a fine of $5,000.
There are also other offenses that are categorized as sex crimes in Massachusetts and Norfolk County by extension, and individuals convicted of such crimes are required to register as sex offenders.
What Crimes Require Sex Offender Registration in Norfolk County?
The laws require likely repeat sex offenders to be registered. The likelihood of being a repeat offender may be determined based on the offender’s sex crime history, nature of the sex offense.
A sex offender registry is a database containing the information of convicted sex offenders in an area. The information of the sex offenders may vary based on the county. However, the purpose of any such information is generally to help members of the public recognize a sex offender staying or working around them. As a result, a sex offender registry typically contains the names, addresses, current occupation, and physical appearances of convicted sex offenders.
In Norfolk County, sex offenders are categorized into levels I, II, and III. Level I sex offenders are less likely to be repeat offenders. Level II sex offenders are those with a moderate likelihood of reoffending and Level III sex offenders are those with a very high likelihood of reoffending. Information on Norfolk County sex offenders, and other counties in Massachusetts, can be found on the Massachusetts Central Sex Offender Database. This database is maintained by the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board and contains the information of all Level III sex offenders and Level II sex offenders classified after July 12, 2013. For information on Level II sex offenders classified before July 12, 2013, and Level I sex offenders generally, interested parties may contact the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office at:
Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office
200 West Street
PO Box 149
Dedham, MA 02027
Phone: (781) 329-3705
Fax: (781) 326-6020
Alternatively, interested parties can make a named request for a Level II sex offender classified before July 12, 2013, to the Sex Offender Registry Board at:
Sex Offender Registry Board
PO Box 392
North Billerica, MA 01862
Phone: (978) 740-6400
Business Hours: Mondays - Fridays, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
What is a Sex Crimes Defense Attorney?
Sex crimes attorneys are lawyers that specialize in representing offenders facing sex crimes charges. They may also practice family law. A sex crimes lawyer focuses on defending individuals who have been charged for a sex crime under any relevant sex crime law. Due to the severity of sex crimes on individuals and society, the laws and policies may change often, a sex crimes attorney stays current with the changes and are more familiar with the peculiarities of sex crime charges, proceedings, and overall court process. The expertise and legal advice of a sex crimes attorney is a valuable asset when facing sex crimes charges.
How does a Sex Crime Defense Attorney Work?
In assisting their clients and quashing sex crime charges, a sex crime defense attorney uses a variety of tactics such as,
- Suppressing evidence: A sex crime defense attorney may bring a motion to suppress evidence on various grounds. A motion to suppress evidence is typically filed before the main trial begins so the court can determine which evidence is to be considered and which should not be considered during the trial.
- Challenging evidence: the defense attorney may challenge evidence presented by the prosecution and make a plea for the court to render them inadmissible. When evidence is successfully rendered inadmissible, the prosecution can no longer use it to strengthen their case. There are also various grounds for challenging evidence, including, that the evidence was not lawfully obtained. In some cases, the court may not render such evidence inadmissible but may attribute a lesser weight or relevance to them.
- Challenging the accuser’s/witness’ motives: When the court finds reasons not to trust the testimony, claims, or credibility of the accuser or the prosecution witnesses, it negatively affects the prosecution’s case and their ability to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. A sex crimes defense attorney investigates the motives of the accuser, or witnesses, to uncover any bias or bad blood. One way the attorney achieves this is by checking the previous relationship between the accuser and the defendant. A history of abuse or false allegations by the accuser against the defendant can be wielded by a defense attorney to hurt the accuser’s credibility.
Defense attorneys may adopt a myriad of tactics to plea their client’s case. The tactics an attorney employs will be peculiar to each case, available evidence, and facts.