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Massachusetts Rape Laws

In Massachusetts, rape means the penetration of any bodily orifice by any part of the body, or by an object, performed against the victim's will, without consent, and with the threat of or actual use of force. If the defendant is armed with a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine-gun or assault weapon, the penalties are even worse.

What If It Isn't 'Forcible' Rape?

Physically forcing a victim to have sexual intercourse isn't the only way rape can happen. If a person/victim can't give consent for some reason such as unconsciousness, intoxication or mental impairment, that would also be classified as rape.

Relationship To The Victim

Rape isn't only committed by strangers down dark alleyways. While the popular myth of stranger-rape does happen, it is more commonly committed by someone you know. Rape can happen between persons with an established dating relationship or even between partners and married individuals. The law doesn't distinguish between the type of relationship you are in with the defendant or victim. Simply that you had sex with a person without their consent.

Does Massachusetts Have a Sex Offender Registry?

Rape is a sex crime that will land the offender in prison and likely on the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Massachusetts rape laws. See also Statutory Rape, and Sex Offenders and Sex Offenses.

Code Sections

MGL: Chapter 265, Section 22

Elements of Rape/Sexual Assault

3 (Three) elements

1) Penetration of ANY bodily orifice by ANY body part or by ANY object,

2) Against a person’s will, or without consent,


3 ) With threat of or actual use of force.


Up to 20 years in a state prison along with probation, GPS monitoring, fines, and a lifetime being listed on the sex offender list at the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board.

Sexual Intercourse

Penetration (anal, oral or vaginal) by a penis, tongue, finger, or an inanimate object.

Mandatory Sex Registration?

Yes, if convicted. Sex offenders who intentionally do not comply with the mandatory registration requirements by failing to register or providing false information face serious consequences, including returning to prison or jail.



If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted contact any of the following resources:

If you or someone you care about is facing a charge of rape or sexual assault in Massachusetts, you probably have a hundred questions to ask. You may wish to contact a criminal defense attorney for assistance.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Complex cases usually require a lawyer
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  • Sexual assaults & sex crime convictions often have long sentences and lifelong consequences

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