Sexual Assault & Rape
Rape and sexual assault are two of the most devastating crimes one can be the victim of. These crimes can cause serious physical injury, mental and emotional damage, and much more. In some cases it can lead to STDs, pregnancies, and more. Massachusetts has numerous laws in place to help punish those who commit these crimes.
While they’re essentially the same, the terms sexual assault and rape are just slightly different from one another. Rape is sexual intercourse performed without the consent of one of the people involved. Sexual assault is any unwanted sex act that is forced upon someone, whether it is penetration or simply sexualized touching. Fondling a woman’s breasts without her permission, for example, would be considered sexual assault and not rape. In many instances, the two terms are used interchangeably.
Sexual assault is the broader of the two and includes any type of contact that happens without consent of an individual. This could include forced intercourse, child molestation, incest, fondling, any type of sexual touching, attempted rape, and more.
Additionally, there is a separate definition for what is known as Aggravated Sexual Assault. This is a type of sexual assault that actually results in physical harm to the victim. Essentially, if any medical attention is required due to injuries sustained during a sexual assault, it becomes a case of aggravated sexual assault. With this will come much harsher punishments including longer prison sentences.
Under Massachusetts law, rape and sexual assaults can reach up to 20 years in a state prison along with probation, GPS monitoring, fines, and a lifetime being listed on the sex offender list at the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board. Additionally, many sex crimes may also fall under federal jurisdiction and could result in federal and state charges along with sentences in both of the courts. In certain instances additional charges may also be filed against someone and could lead to even longer sentences.
There’s no denying that these are among the absolute worst crimes that one can face. But in some instances there have been a growing number of false accusations made largely because of things like someone wishing to ‘get back’ at someone else. In cases of date rape, the number of false accusations is higher than in other cases of rape or sexual assault.
That isn’t to say that these aren’t serious offenses, or that the accused is always innocent. But there are cases of innocent people being accused, tried, and convicted of sex crimes that they didn’t commit. As a result, DNA evidence, expert witness testimony, and much more will have to be used in court to ensure that the facts of the case are presented accurately and correctly.
Sexual assault and rape are serious crimes and they deserve serious punishments. But those who are unjustly accused will want to ensure that they procure a legal representative who can help them, as well. There are often two sides to every story, and with a life on the line it’s important that representation is always available.