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.

THINGS YOU MUST MAKE SURE YOUR TEEN KNOWS ABOUT MASSACHUSETTS SEX AND SEXUAL CRIMES Part One.

You know, it is not only Massachusetts folks that this warning should awaken.

For example, take a certain young couple from North Carolina, although I have handled a number of similar matters here in the Commonwealth.

The Washington Post tells us of a young couple (hereinafter The “Juveniles”) who were prosecuted for making and distributing child pornography.

Of themselves!

The case actually ended up in convictions. A public uproar resulted. I would imagine that the Juveniles felt that the uproar would have been better if it had happened before they were facing jail

Unfortunately, the fact that the general population, or the defendants themselves, do not know the law is no defense. Therefore, it is vital that you know the law… at least well enough to protect you and yours.

Let’s discuss a few examples.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Age, Consent And Sex

Johnny and Sally have discovered sex. More importantly, they have come to the realization that they have different parts from each other. They are particularly proud of their own parts. Johnny is 17 years of age; Sally is 16 years of age.

Both Johnny and Sally are juveniles in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, they are just old enough to squeak by should they decide to have consensual sex. If Sally were 15 years old, this would not be the case. Johnny would be looking at jail time.  Statutory Rape – at under 16 years of age, Sally could not legally consent to the sex.

There are various statutory rules, though, depending upon the age of the participants as to the level of potential punishment.

However, proud as they may be of their particular parts, if they photograph said parts and send said photos to each other, they will be putting each other, and themselves, at risk.

Any such photography is considered child pornography and is illegal to create, give or even possess.

That’s right, that cute little schoolmate sending your son naked pictures of herself is sending him an invitation to jail should he keep the picture.  Lord forbid he decide to forward it to someone.  Distribution.

“But Sam, what if it is not for sexual enticement?”

It does not have to be. For example let’s say one student sees another student leaving the shower in the locker room. Perhaps he thinks it will be funny to throw it up on Snap-chat or something. The joke will be on him if his fellow student is not at least 18 years of age. He will have just possessed, created and disseminated child pornography.

“So, I guess that means that ‘sexting ‘ is illegal too?”

No, not always from a pornographic point of view… assuming it does not contain naked pictures of underage people.

Massachusetts has been trying to pass strong sexting laws under the Commonwealth’s obscenity laws but such law has been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the federal court ruled the law to be over broad and issued an injunction to prevent the Commonwealth from enforcing the law.

Let’s assume that the kids are older now.  Maybe they are in college.  Nobody is under the age of 16.

“Then sex between two consenting adults is worry-free, legally speaking, right?”

Not so fast. While the technical law and theory might say you are home free, I’m here to throw a little cold water, from the Sea Of Reality on you.

Sexual escapades that may have seemed consensual at the time may, in the light of day, turn out not to be consensual. At least, according to prosecutors.

Big Bart went to a party and met a Alluring Asia. After a drink or 10, they went back to the dorm and had some kind of sexual interaction. The next day, a Alluring Asia’s friends made fun of her and how drunk she was. She immediately regretted her trist with Bart and decided that he had taken advantage of her.

What happens next?

Check out my next blog.

Tomorrow.

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