Of all the various criminal offenses out there, sexual crimes are among the most heinous. There are a surprising number of different sex related crimes on the books, and most of these are governed by state laws. Massachusetts law takes crimes of this nature very seriously, and one of the most serious offenses is certainly aggravated sexual assault. This is essentially a type of rape, albeit under a slightly different name. Between 1988 and 1997 more than 26,000 cases of sexual assault were reported in Massachusetts, though the number of victims who suffered from it is likely much higher due to the unwillingness of many victims to report what has happened to them.
Aggravated sexual assault is a felony charge and is usually defined as a type of sexual assault that wounds, maims, or disfigures the victim in some way. The biggest difference between aggravated sexual assault and basic sexual assault is that in the case of regular sexual assault the sexual contact is still unwanted by the victim, but the act doesn't lead to the victim needing medical attention. In cases of aggravated sexual assault medical attention will be required due to injuries sustained during the assault. Obviously it's a serious offense and one that can carry significant prison time as a sentence.
There are also other instances that will often lead to a charge of aggravated sexual assault, though in many cases injuries requiring medical attention might not be sustained. In either case, the following will all constitute felony aggravated sexual assault under Massachusetts law.
- Sexual penetration occurs and the victim is under 13 years of age
- Penetration occurs and the victim is under 16 years old and is a blood relation or guardian of the child
- The sexual assault occurs during a robbery, homicide, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, kidnapping, or other similar crime
- The sexual assault is aided by multiple people
- The sexual assault involves physical force and severe personal injury occurs
- The assaulter is armed with a dangerous weapon and uses said weapon in a threatening manner
- The victim is ruled to be physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or mentally defective. This includes victims who are intoxicated or those with mental disabilities. The act of drugging a victim with the intuition of having sexual intercourse with them is another example.
In short, a number of different situations may be considered aggravated sexual assault. Sentencing can vary within the state of Massachusetts for this crime based on the judge's discretion. Usually, the judge will utilize things including criminal history, existing statutes, and more to determine the penalty of the crime. Most sentences are between 2 and 7 years, along with various additional fines or penalties as a judge sees fit. Numerous factors can often have a direct impact on the sentencing.
Aggravated sexual assault is one of the most serious crimes one can be charged with in the state of Massachusetts, and also one of the most repulsive crimes that can be visited on a victim. Conviction comes with very harsh penalties including long prison sentences.
What to Do If You Are Charged
If you are charged with aggravated sexual assault in Massachusetts, it is important to seek the assistance of a professional as quickly as possible to help you better understand and deal with your case. A professional with experience dealing in sex crime related cases will be able to help you determine which of the possible defenses apply to your specific case, as well as what the options available to you might be.