Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

New Massachusetts Sex Crime Laws Could Create Challenges

Massachusetts in comparison to other states has less legislation designed to guard children against the dangers of sexual abuse. This can change, however, if pending measures pass. One pending bill would heighten the scrutiny of individuals looking for jobs in schools as well as prohibit schools from entering into a confidentiality agreement if a worker is involved in sexual misconduct with a minor. Another pending measure would block abusers from raising the age of consent as a defense if the abusers have a sexual interaction with a student. This legislation would state that protection should not apply if the adult charged is in a position of authority at the school.  

Experts report that if these measures are passed, Massachusetts could become a leading state in regards to measures protecting children. One executive director of an organization designed to protect children has stated that if Massachusetts can pass screening bills and solve age of consent problems, the state will return to being a leader in protecting children from sexual abuse. 

The Role of Ex Post Facto Laws 

The phrase ‘Ex Post Facto’ is a Latin term that translates to “after the fact.” In the legal sense, ex post facto refers to laws that are unenforceable in regards to a particular person charged with an offense because the regulation makes a person’s non-criminal act into a criminal offense only after the person has completed the act. 

Ex post facto includes any regulation that attempts to do any of these listed elements: 

  • Makes a non-criminal act a criminal offense after the subject’s actions or conduct is complete. In these cases, a person cannot be held criminally liable for conduct that was legal at the time it was committed but which was subsequently outlawed.

  • Makes punishment associated with a crime more severe after the crime has been completed.

  • Makes regulations more challenging for a person to defend his or her case 

  • Restricts a defendant’s defense options that existed before the subject’s criminal action or conduct

How to Respond if You are Charged with a Sex Crime

One possible side effect of this new law in Massachusetts is that more people will be falsely accused of criminal offenses. If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime, there are some important steps that you should immediately take. These steps include:

  • Remain silent. Remember, you have a right to do so under the Fifth Amendment. You are also not required to take any steps that would generate evidence that could be used against you. 

  • Gather any records connected to the period of the incident in question. This might include emails, videos, or text messages.

  • Decline any voluntary searches by law enforcement. Similarly, do not turn over written records unless ordered. 

  • Do not engage in contact with the victim of the alleged incident or anyone who claims to have seen the incident occur. 

Contact a Seasoned Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

In addition to significant penalties, the conviction of sex crimes in Massachusetts also results in lasting social stigma. One of the best ways to respond to these charges is to obtain the assistance of an experienced defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.