On or about August 6, 2011 a fifteen year old girl reported that she had consensual sexual relations with a twenty six year old Lowell, Massachusetts man she had met online. The defendant, Robert Conner and the girl made their initial contact through a dating site called DateHookup.com. The two “chatted” online, texted one another and had some phone conversations. They eventually met up and had sex. The girl then told her mother about the encounter. The mother accessed the dating website and contacted the police. The police investigated the allegations. While doing so they met with Conner who denied having sex with the girl. During this interview the police smelled marijuana. The home was searched and a supply suggestive of the intent to distribute the drug was found. Conner has been charged with Rape of a Child, Possession With the Intent to Distribute Marijuana and a School Zone Violation. The case is pending in the Lowell District Court however if the Rape of a Child charge is pursued the case will be prosecuted in the Middlesex County Superior Court in Woburn. Conner has already been convicted of a Sex Crime in Massachusetts. He served eighteen months for Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child after being convicted of that crime in the Haverhill District Court.
Statutory Rape laws in the United States are not consistent and in many instances make absolutely no sense whatsoever. In Massachusetts the law is clear that the age of consent is sixteen. That applies for both males and females. This is not the case however in many states. In Arkansas for instance, males must be fourteen to consent to sex whereas females must be sixteen. In Colorado the ages of consent are fifteen and seventeen for males and females respectively. North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin hold the age of consent at eighteen. In some states a lower age applies when the age gap between partners is small, or when the older partner is below a certain age, usually eighteen or twenty one. In Massachusetts Statutory Rape is a strict liability crime. This means that there is no defense other than the alleged act never happened. Believing that someone has reached the legal age will not help you at trial. Nor will the fact that the victim appears to be older than he or she really is. In this case Conner said that there was no sex. That is a viable defense to these allegations. The victim’s testimony is not always enough to support a conviction, particularly where a competent defense attorney is able to impeach this testimony with inconsistencies or motive. Jurors want to see more. They want to see proof in the form of independent evidence that would support the naked accusation. Did someone see the act? Did the victim go to a hospital? Were tests performed to show penetration or the presence of seamen? If so, was a sample submitted for DNA testing and matched to that of the accused?
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman has been defending these cases for over two decades. If you are in trouble you need to hire a lawyer. Call us now at 617-263-6800 or contact us online.