Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR STUDENTS’ CRIMES COME TO BOSTON UNIVERSITY (Part Two)

https://criminal.altmanllp.com/lawyer-attorney-1445342.htmlWelcome to Friday the 13th. Regardless how it goes for you, the folks over at Alpha Epsilon Pi at Boston University have already had a bad week.

As CBS in Boston put it, “the party is over”.

Previous to this week, the only problem they seemed to be having was with the university itself. B.U. was no longer sanctioning the fraternity house. This apparently took place nearly 20 years ago due to underage drinking.

Apparently, that was not bad enough to gain the frat boys’ alleged attention. Now, the fraternity’s national board of directors has shut down its B.U. chapter altogether because of that latest incident allegations of tying up and beating five students who were pledging the fraternity.

According to the Boston Globe, the fraternity is also calling for a three-day moratorium on pledging activities at its chapters in the U.S., Canada and Israel.

Who would have thought this would be an international incident?

As expected, the Boston police are also seeking criminal complaints in the matter. The complaints would apparently be against 14 gentlemen. The charges are to be hazing and assault and battery.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Hazing, Assault And Battery And Students’ Crimes

In my last Blog, we discussed the university’s stance on hazing as well as the Commonwealth’s definition of it. I left you with a question, namely what the difference was between assault and battery and the hazing (when it comes to A&B-type behavior).

The key to assault and battery is that it involves unwanted offensive touching. This would therefore leave out all wanted or permitted touching by the touchee. Therefore, all sadomasochistic activities would not be included. This would include permitted abuse which is often involved in these hazing incidents. Check out the last line in the statute as quoted previously.

Therefore, it is a very real defense to the assault and battery charges that the touching was permitted by the pledges.

“But, Sam, that’s ridiculous. Does that mean I can murder someone if they say it is ok?”

No, of course not. There is no consent defense to murder. In fact, that would not even be considered straight murder…it would be assisted suicide which is illegal as well.

“But they had all those demeaning condiments dumped all over their bodies and they were tied up.”

Hey, people are into what they are into. Just because you don’t like it does not mean it is illegal.

“What about the fact that they were all taped together? Isn’t that kidnapping?”

Nope. Kidnapping has to be against the person’s will. I would imagine the defense to any such charge would be consent.

“What if they were abused sexually?”

Well, that would depend on the age of those involved. The age of consent would come into play as to whether or not the pledges could consent. However, otherwise, the defense would be consent.

The bottom line is that our legislature has decided to outlaw certain behavior it deems abusive whether or not the students believe they want it or are willing to endure it. That is why the hazing charges are not defendable by way of the consent defense.

Of course, the hazing charges will include things other than the beatings, but, that was only the part of the statute we were discussing.

“Why would anyone put themselves through such things?”

I don’t know. Why did I put myself through law school? Ok, bad example. However, people, especially kids, do crazy things sometimes and so they look to adults to make certain things safe. Where we draw that line differs from person to person.

Me? I take the Groucho Marx approach. I refuse to belong to any organization that would have me as a member.

There will be another Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog posted over the next 24 hours. The blog is now posted 4 times per week and I intend to do my best, given recent history, to keep it that way.

For the original story upon which this blog was based, please go to http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/04/12/bu-fraternity-shut-down-after-hazing-incident/

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