According to an article from MetroWest Daily News, a Worcester man was arrested for having sex with two underage girls – one sixteen and one fourteen – at a Motel 6 in Northborough. Following the arrest, the man was arraigned in the Westborough District Court on September 11, 2013 on charges of: rape, rape of a child under 16, indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Prior to the arrest, the police reportedly received information that two girls were working at the motel as prostitutes and went to investigate. During the course of this investigation, the man was arrested. It is unclear whether the police believed that he was involved in the alleged prostitution scheme, was a john, or was involved in some other way. Most likely, the police concluded that the man was a john, as he was not charged with “deriving support from a prostitute,” which is the Massachusetts pimping statute. In court, the prosecutor claimed that the man had lured the girls to the motel with drugs and alcohol, then coerced them into sexual acts, and took pictures of them in various states of nudity. It is unclear whether these photographs were recovered. Further, although a condom was reportedly recovered from the motel room’s trash, it is likewise unclear whether any DNA was recovered from it.
In contrast to the prosecutor’s allegations, the man’s defense attorney emphatically denied the accuracy of the girls’ story, stating that the man was simply letting the girls stay in the room as a favor. The attorney also indicated that the girls represented to the man that they were in their twenties. While the attorney appeared to acknowledge that the man and the older girl did engage in some sort of sexual activity, he also clearly stated that such activity was consensual.
The girls’ allegations are concerning and may have serious consequences for the man. However, it seems as though there are potential weaknesses in the Commonwealth’s version of the events. Although the prosecutor steered clear of referring to the girls as prostitutes, they may well have been engaged in the exchange of sex for some sort of fee – monetary or otherwise – which is a crime under G. L. c. 272, § 8. Given the fact that the police had received information that some sort of prostitution was occurring at the motel, this seems to be the most likely explanation. In the event that this is the case, the Commonwealth may have trouble proving the charges against the man. In particular, the girls may have a 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Such a privilege means that if the girls’ testimony against the man would result in them incriminating themselves as well, they have a right to refuse to testify. If the case proceeds to Superior Court, the prosecution may choose to grant immunity to the girls in exchange for their testimony against the man – in other words, agree not to prosecute them for any criminal activity if they agree to testify against the man at trial. However, the man would then have a strong argument that the girls were biased or motivated to lie about what really happened so that they could get out from under any criminal charges.
On the other hand, the fact that at least one of the girls is under the age of sixteen is problematic for the man. Sex with anyone under the age of consent – which is sixteen in Massachusetts – is a strict liability crime. This means that if a person is under the age of sixteen, he or she cannot legally consent to sex, and therefore, any sexual activity with that person is considered non-consensual, and thereby criminal. Further, it doesn’t matter how old the person holds him or herself out to be – even if the person says that he or she is over the age of consent, if that person’s true age is under sixteen, having sex is still a crime. Therefore, whether DNA is found on the condom, and whether it is actually linked to the fourteen year old or the sixteen year old, will have a significant impact on the strength of the Commonwealth’s case against the man.
Despite these potential weaknesses, charges such as these are serious – they carry harsh penalties, including state prison time. As such, they should be dealt with by an experienced attorney. Attorney Cappetta makes sure that all avenues of defense are explored, and gets the best outcomes possible for his clients. Let him help you, or a loved one today.