Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

A Quick Guide to Enticing a Child Charges


Marlboro law enforcement recently arrested a man who was caught on video by a vigilante group that targets child predators after the man met a young boy for sex. The man was subsequently charged with enticing a child and dissemination of obscene matter to a minor. 

Leading to the arrest, the man initiated a conversation with someone he believed was 14 or 15 with the purpose of having sex with the boy. The man then drove to Marlboro to meet the boy, at which point he was met with an adult man instead. In this recorded meeting, the man admits that he drove the distance to meet with the boy for sexual purposes. 

The video then ends with law enforcement pulling the man over. Additional details about the case are still ongoing. Because enticing a child is a serious criminal charge in Massachusetts, this article reviews some critical details that people should understand about these charges.

The Statute Encompasses Various Actions

Massachusetts’ child enticement statute punishes various types of behavior and is much broader than the statue’s name suggests. To be convicted under the statute, the prosecution must establish that a person satisfied three elements:

  • The alleged victim must have either been 16 years of age or younger or viewed by the suspect as someone who was this age or below.

  • The suspect must have tempted the alleged victim to enter, exit, or remain in a vehicle, dwelling, building, or outdoor space.

  • The suspect must have committed one of a group of offenses including disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, indecent exposure, or charging a price for sexual conduct. 

Believing a Child Was an Adult is Not a Defense

Many people think that they will have a strong defense if they simply argue they were mistaken about the child’s age. In actuality, under the first element of the offense, a person can still be charged under this statute if the suspect believes that the child was an adult. 

The prosecution will treat an offense just as aggressively if a person genuinely held a belief that a child was an adult as they would if they knew the alleged victim was a child. 

Intent, Not Commission is Required

For the third element of the offense, the prosecution must only establish that a suspect had the intent to commit an offense. 

It is not required to establish that one of these offenses actually occurred. The prosecution can use various types of evidence to show intent including emails and text messages.

The Offense Carries Serious Penalty

Enticing a child under the age of 16 is a serious offense in Massachusetts. The felony is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Additionally, the offense requires a convicted person to register as a sex offender. 

Speak with a Knowledgeable Sex Crimes Attorney

Being involved with a sex offense in Massachusetts carries several negative repercussions including potential imprisonment and a tarnished reputation. As a result, people who are charged with these offenses must create a strong response plan. 

A skilled criminal defense attorney can help. Contact attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.