Last year a Marblehead, Massachusetts man was arrested following a bizarre incident involving the improper use of Facebook. Apparently the forty one year old man and the woman knew one another. She claims that they were just friends. On one occasion while alone with the man the woman fell asleep. She eventually told him that she did not want to spend time with him anymore. He then opened a Facebook page using her name and personal information. He also posted pictures he had taken of her during their relationship. A friend told the woman about the Facebook page and the pictures. The police were called. Their investigation led them to the man. The investigation also suggested to them that the woman had been digitally raped. Charges of Rape, Photographing a Person in the Nude Without Consent, Indecent Assault and Battery and Identity Fraud have been filed. The case was indicted and is now pending in the Essex County Superior Court in Salem. The article goes on to say that the defendant has a dating profile on “Plenty of Fish”. His profile boasts having sex in public and threesomes.
As would be the case with most Massachusetts Criminal Attorneys this case intrigues me. Not because of the actual charges but due to the timing of the accusations. It is clear that nothing came about in a criminal context during the pendency of the “relationship”. Rather, once the Facebook page was posted the woman clearly became angered and felt victimized. Rightly so given that her pictures were posted on Facebook without her consent. Even according to the Salem News, the defendant’s lawyer concedes this point. And yes, the charge of Identity Fraud seems viable and perhaps indefensible. The other charges are not as easily provable. The defendant will probably defend this case on the theory that all acts were consensual, including the photographing of the woman naked. It will be difficult for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these acts were not consensual. First off, when were these pictures taken? The woman is going to say that it all occurred when she fell asleep. What links that date to these photographs? How is the prosecution going to be able to show beyond a reasonable doubt an absence of consent. To the average juror it will appear that the relationship was somewhat significant. After all, how many people fall asleep in the presence of others with whom they feel anything less than comfortable? Here is something else to think about. Did the woman meet the defendant through the dating site? If she did she must have know of his sexual proclivities and found them intriguing at a minimum. How long had they been together and what was the nature of their relationship?
The Identity Fraud statute in Massachusetts is G.L. c. 266 Section 37E. The crime is a misdemeanor meaning in Massachusetts that no state prison sentence is authorized. This is minor compared to the remaining charges the defendant is facing. The Rape charge is a life felony and the Indecent Assault and Battery charge is punishable by up to five years in state prison.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman is a Criminal Defense Law Firm only. We handle all crimes. To reach one of our lawyers call us at 617-263-6800 or email us. Our phones are always answered and we stand prepared to defend you against any criminal allegation.