Massachusetts Age of Consent Laws 2023
What is the Massachusetts Age of Consent?
The Massachusetts Age of Consent is 16 years old. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 15 or younger in Massachusetts are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.
Massachusetts statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16. The age of consent is raised to 18 if the victim is ""of a chaste life"" and the offender induces them to have sexual intercourse.
Massachusetts does not have a close-in-age exemption. Close in age exemptions, commonly known as "Romeo and Juliet laws", are put in place to prevent the prosecution of individuals who engage in consensual sexual activity when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both partners are below the age of consent.
Because there is no such "Romeo and Juliet law" in Massachusetts, it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 16 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape, although this is rare. Similarly, no protections are reserved for sexual relations in which one participant is a 15 year old and the second is a 16 or 17 year old.
The age of consent in Massachusetts is based on the following statutes from the Massachusetts criminal code:
Massachusetts Age Of Consent Law: Whoever induces any person under 18 years of age of chaste life to have unlawful sexual intercourse shall be punished.
Punishments for Violating the Age Of Consent in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has one statutory sexual abuse charges on the books which are used to prosecute age of consent and child abuse related crimes within the state. One or more of these charges may be used to prosecute violations of the Massachusetts Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the Massachusetts equivalent of that charge.
The severity of the criminal charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc) depends on the specifics of the acts committed and the relative ages of the perpetrator and victim. Click any charge for more detailed information.
|Rape of child under 16||Up to life in prison; 10 years to life (subsequent offense w/ firearm when over 18 sentenced to 20 years-life); 5 years to life|