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Is groping a crime in Massachusetts

At a party on campus last weekend, a guy that I don't know (I do know his name) came up behind me and grabbed by breasts while rubbing against me, right in front of several of my friends. I was horrified and left the party as fast as I could. I have no interest in trying to sue this loser but I would like to know if I could press charges against him so that he does not try to do it to other women. What do you think?

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What you describe is certainly a battery and a crime in Massachusetts. For example, see Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 13h:

Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age fourteen shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction.

You could swear out a complaint at the local police station and bring the matter to a show cause hearing in front of a magistrate.  Obviously, if there were multiple witnesses to this event, as you suggest, that might make your job a little easier.  After that, I have no idea if the DA would actually prosecute the matter (assuming the magistrate finds probable cause).  I suppose it would depend on the DA, the amount of evidence, and the perpetrator's history and record.  If the man in question has a record of other sexual crimes or is currently on probation, the DA might be more interested in the matter.

If this man is a student, I would encourage you to talk to the administration of your school and ask them to take action.  The behavior you describe almost certainly violates whatever conduct policies your school has in place.  The results of that action could be severe for the man in question.  Good luck.  For more information, visit our Massachusetts Criminal Law Discussion Forum.


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