Articles Posted in Sex Offenses

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computerIn a recent Massachusetts appellate case, the defendant appealed from a conviction for possessing child pornography. The case arose in 2009 when a State police sergeant used a peer-to-peer software client to investigate the use of a file-sharing network to possess and distribute child pornography. While connected, the sergeant saw that a computer in Massachusetts was sharing what he suspected were child pornography files.

The sergeant got a list of 7,237 files that the computer showed were available for sharing. Most of the file names included terms that the sergeant knew were associated with child pornography, and one included an attribute that provided a unique identifier for one that the sergeant had previously examined and believed contained child pornography.

The police subpoenaed the Internet service provider and found the street address associated with the IP address. A registry of motor vehicles records showed that the subscriber and defendant lived at the address. A warrant was obtained to search the premises for a computer that used LimeWire and for materials that were associated with possession of child pornography. The warrant was executed. The subscriber owned the house, and the defendant was the subscriber’s wife’s cousin, who lived in the attic.

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autobahn-2-1185580-m.jpgRecently, a 46-year-old Uber driver was accused of sexually assaulting a passenger in Boston. Uber customers use an app to arrange and pay for rides with drivers who are nearby. The driver pled not guilty to all charges, which included rape and kidnapping. The incident allegedly occurred on December 6, when the woman called an Uber car to take her home after a night spent with friends.

Once the woman was in the car, the driver allegedly said she would need to pay with cash and drove her to an ATM. Once she returned to the car, he drove to a secluded area, jumped into the back seat, and allegedly struck, strangled, and sexually assaulted her. Boston police have stated that they are investigating three other indecent assault allegations related to women using ride-for-hire services.

Rape is a felony charge described in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 22(b). It is taken very seriously in Massachusetts. To secure a conviction in a rape case, the Commonwealth will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant engaged in sexual intercourse with the alleged victim and that the defendant used force or otherwise compelled the victim to submit against his or her will. “Sexual intercourse” means that there was penetration, but it doesn’t have to be significant. Even finger penetration or the use of a foreign object can satisfy this requirement. “Force” is usually defined as a threat of bodily injury, but it doesn’t always mean physical force. Sexual assault, in contrast to rape, is more broadly defined as any sexual activity that is coerced, forced, or unwanted.
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The Appeals Court of Massachusetts seated in Suffolk County handed down a decision earlier this year regarding a defendant who had been unlawfully indicted on a charge which the prosecution had not fully proven.instruction_manual.jpg

In the case, Commonwealth v. Rodriguez, 83 Mass. App. Ct. 267 (2013), following a jury trial in Superior Court, the defendant was found guilty of rape aggravated by kidnapping; kidnapping aggravated by sexual assault; and indecent assault and battery. The judge sentenced him on the aggravated rape and indecent assault and battery charges, and placed the indictment for aggravated kidnapping on file, to which the defendant objected. The defendant’s appeal centered on the filed indictment. He argued that, the jury instruction setting forth the elements of aggravated kidnapping was erroneous.

Under the relevant portion of the statute, “[w]hoever commits any offense described in this section [the crime of kidnapping] while armed with a dangerous weapon and inflicts serious bodily injury thereby upon another person or who sexually assaults such person…” shall be found guilty of the crime. [emphasis added by court].
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In the wake of the Penn State/Sandusky scandal, a Taunton High School teacher has been accused of having sex with two female students. Patrick Doyle, a history teacher, now faces charges of statutory rape and aggravated statutory rape of a child. NECN reports that the Doyle was indicted on twelve charges arising from the two incidents, and is currently being held without bail. A dangerousness hearing has been set for Doyle sometime next week. If convicted of these charges, Doyle faces a 10-year to life sentence in prison. Allegations of sex crimes are serious and should not be taken lightly. A conviction for a sexual offense in Massachusetts carries significant penalties of imprisonment and may confine an offender to a lifetime on the sex offender registry.

Earlier this year, two Newton men were arrested for possession and distribution of child pornography. The arrests were made in the same week during January 2012, although there does not appear to be a connection between the two men. Peter Buchanan, a 10-year city employee and Dave Ettlinger, an elementary teacher, both face serious charges stemming from the arrests. Dave Ettlinger was arrested in January 2012 for his participation in the child pornography website called Dreamboard, which requires members to post images of child pornography in order to keep their membership active. Ultimately, Ettlinger was charged with indecently assaulting three females and taping it. The arrest resulted from an international investigation of the website. A June 28th article by the Boston Globe proclaims that Ettlinger may plead guilty to the federal charges stemming from his role in the global child pornography network, although a plea has not yet been entered. If found guilty, Ettlinger faces imprisonment for 20 years to life under 18 USC §2252A. Upon the conclusion of the case, Ettlinger must return to Massachusetts to face state charges for the indecent assault on three females.
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883985_business_law.jpgFailing to Register as a sex offender pursuant to G.L. c.6, s. 178H can result in severe consequences to the individual that must register in accordance with the law. A strong and aggressive defense by an experienced Boston criminal defense lawyer is necessary when a complaint for failure to register is brought against a defendant.

The possibility of long sentences followed by lifetime community parole show how important it is to hire a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney to vigorously defend such cases rather than settle for plea opportunities made by the prosecutor. Cases such as Commonwealth v. Ramirez, 69 Mass. App.Ct. 9 (2007) and Commonwealth v. Bolling, 72 Mass. App. Ct. 618 (2008) show how important it is to have an experienced attorney present a strong defense on behalf of the client.

To prove that the defendant committed the offense of failing to register as a sex offender the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following four elements:

First: that the defendant either resided or intended to reside in Massachusetts or worked or intended to work in Massachusetts;

Second: that the defendant was previously convicted of the offense of that required him or her to register as a sex offender;

Third: that the defendant knew that he or she was required to register or verify registration data or notify of a change of address with the Sex Offender Registry Board; and
Fourth: that the defendant failed to register or failed to verify registration data or notify of a change of address or provided false information to the Sex Offender Registry Board.
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