According to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a Holliston man was recently arrested for slapping his four year old son. The article states that the defendnt was on a supervised visit with his two children – the alleged victim and his older brother, who is seven years old. During the visit, the defendant reportedly slapped the four year old in the head because he refused to stay in his time out. The child apparently fell backwards as a result and hit his head on a doorframe, which caused a lump to form on his head. After this occurred, the defendant spoke with the children’s mother and relayed what had happened. As a result of the incident, the defendant was arrested for assault and battery causing injury to a child under fourteen.
For a jury to convict the defendant of assault and battery causing injury to a child under fourteen under G. L. c. 265, § 13J, the Commonwealth would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the alleged victim was under fourteen years of age; (2) that the defendant touched the person of the alleged victim, without having any right or excuse for doing so; (3) that the defendant intended to touch the alleged victim – in other words, that the defendant touched his son deliberately rather than accidentally; and (4) that the alleged victim suffered bodily injury.
A second way in which a person may be guilty of an assault and battery under the statute is if the person engaged in reckless rather than intentional conduct. In order to prove that the defendant is guilty under a theory of reckless conduct, the Commonwealth must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the alleged victim was under fourteen years of age; (2) that the defendant intentionally engaged in actions which caused bodily injury to the alleged victim; and (3) that the defendant’s actions amounted to reckless conduct.
Under either theory, bodily injury is defined as a substantial impairment of the physical condition, including: a burn, a fracture of any bone, a subdural hematoma, any injury to any internal organ, any injury which occurs as the result of repeated harm to any bodily function or organ including human skin, and/or any physical condition which substantially imperils a child’s health or welfare. Continue reading →