According to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a Pennsylvania man who came to Massachusetts to buy a home has been arrested and charged with indecent assault and battery on a person over fourteen. The article states that the man went to an open house at a home in Hopkinton. Upon arrival, he approached the real estate agent, told her she was beautiful, and began to kiss her hand. He then reportedly touched her hair and kissed her face and neck. The agent does not appear to have protested or said no. The Commonwealth alleges that this is because she was scared, did not want to make a scene, and did not want to worry other people that were in the home for the open house. According to the defendant, who made a statement to the police, the agent was flirting with him and was a willing participant. After the encounter, the defendant left the house and the real estate agent called the police, who later arrested him.
For the Commonwealth to prove that the defendant committed an indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of fourteen under G. L. c. 265, § 13H, the prosecution must establish that: (1) the agent was at least fourteen years old at the time of the alleged incident; (2) the defendant committed an assault and battery on the agent (assault and battery is essentially the intentional touching of another person, without some legal justification or excuse); (3) the assault and battery was “indecent,” (an indecent act is one that is fundamentally offensive to contemporary standards of decency – an assault and battery may be considered indecent if it involves touching portions of the anatomy commonly thought to be private, such as the person’s genital area or buttocks, or the breasts of a female); and (4) the agent did not consent to the touching.
Given the way in which the alleged incident is described, the defendant may well be able to argue that the agent consented to the kissing. Specifically, a jury may not find the agent’s version of events credible. In particular, a jury might question whether the defendant’s advances were unwelcome in light of the fact that he clearly kissed her hand before moving on to her face and neck. The defendant could argue that if the agent wanted no part in the encounter, one would expect her to have moved away from him at that point, and told him to stop touching her. Likewise, it seems equally odd that the agent would simply go along with a man kissing against her will simply because she did not want to upset potential buyers at the open house. Thus, the defendant could further argue that her lack of resistance undermines her claim that she was not a willing party. One hurdle that the defendant will face, however, is the issue of motive. While the defendant is presumed innocent and is not required to prove anything, it is likely that a jury would wonder why the agent would lie about what happened.
No matter what arguments the defendant may have, he will need a skilled attorney to present his case and ensure that his rights are protected. If you or a loved one is facing a situation in which someone has falsely accused you of misconduct, you will likewise need an attorney to protect your rights. Attorney Daniel Cappetta is an experienced trial attorney who will stand up and fight for you. Call him for a free consultation.