According to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a seventeen-year-old boy from Sudbury was charged with enticing a child under the age of sixteen. The article states that a resident from Skyview Lane called the police around 3:30pm this past Wednesday. The caller stated that a person in a car had made statements to two twelve-year-old boys and allegedly tried to get them to enter the vehicle. The caller then provided a description of the car, which was broadcast to other officers in the area. Officers responding to the scene then stopped a vehicle that matched the caller’s description. The two boys identified the driver as the person that had tried to get them into his car. Police subsequently arrested the driver, whose name is not being released due to his age. The police also searched the vehicle and reportedly found items that supported the allegations. The teen was arraigned in Framingham juvenile court on the charge of enticing a child under the age of sixteen under G. L. c. 265, § 26C.
To prove that the teen is guilty of enticement of a child under the age of sixteen, the Commonwealth would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the alleged victim(s) were under the age of sixteen, or that the teen believed to be under the age of sixteen; (2) that the teen enticed the alleged victims to enter his vehicle; and (3) that the teen did so with the intent that he (or another person) would commit one or more of the following offenses:
- Indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14, on a person with an intellectual disability, or on a person 14 years or older;
- Rape of a child under 16 with force or abuse of a child under the age of 16;
- Assault on a child under 16 with intent to commit rape;
- Inducing a minor to become a prostitute;
- Open and gross lewdness;
- Disseminating matter harmful to a minor;
- Disseminating or possessing to disseminate obscene matter;
- Posing or exhibiting a child under 18 in a state of nudity or sexual conduct;
- Knowingly purchasing or possessing visual material of a child under 18 in sexual conduct;
- Unnatural and lascivious acts with a child under 16;
- Accosting or annoying a person of the opposite sex;
- Common nightwalker or streetwalker;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Disturbing the peace;
- Indecent exposure;
- Keeping a noisy and disorderly house;
- Lewd, wanton and lascivious conduct;
- Engaging in sexual conduct for a fee;
- Paying or procuring for sexual conduct with a child under 14.
As to the second element of the offense, to “entice” means “to lure, induce, persuade, tempt, incite, solicit, coax or invite” someone. A person may entice someone with words, gestures or in other ways. As to the third element of the offense, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that, by this enticement, the teen intended to commit one of the offenses listed about (or intended that someone else commit one of the above referenced offenses). Although the statute does not require an overt act, it does require proof of specific intent to commit one or more of the enumerated crimes.
While the charge is undoubtedly serious, the teen may well have a defense, as it looks like the Commonwealth will have a difficult time proving the third element beyond a reasonable doubt. While the teen may have attempted to get the two boys to get into the car, it will be difficult, without more than the invitation, to show that the teen intended to commit one of the listed offenses. Although the police reportedly found items in the car that supported the charge, without more specifics about what that so-called evidence consists of, or how it might support the charges, the claim that the items somehow support an intention by the teen to commit one of the above referenced offenses appears to be weak.
Regardless of the strength, or lack thereof, of the Commonwealth’s case, the charges alone create a difficult and challenging situation for the teen and his family – not only because of the charge itself, but also because of the collateral consequences for the teen if he is found to be delinquent or guilty of the charges, including potential expulsion from school, and the possibility he will be required to register as a sex offender. It is imperative for the teen to have an experienced and skilled attorney to fight the charge, and to make sure his rights are protected.
Likewise, if you or a loved one is facing a similarly difficult situation, Attorney Daniel Cappetta can help. He has extensive experience in both the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems and can help you and your family through the process. Call him for a free consultation.