The laws of Massachusetts define several kinds of conduct as sex crimes, including sexual conduct with a minor, sexual assault, child molestation and numerous others. Generally, most offenses involving sexual misconduct fall within the jurisdictions of the individual states. Nevertheless, federal law also defines a number of offenses as sex crimes. Some offenses on the list of federal crimes overlap or duplicate sex crimes enumerated by the Commonwealth, but some are unique to federal law.
Sexual offenses committed in a United States territory or in a federal prison are subject only to federal jurisdiction. Sexual offenders who cross state or international borders may also be guilty of a federal sex crime.
The most common type of sex crime that violates federal statutes is the printing, publication or the making of “any notice or advertisement” that seeks to sell, buy or exchange images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The statute also makes it illegal to send any such notice or advertisement in interstate commerce by any means, including electronic means. Specific federal sex crimes include the buying or selling of children, buying or selling material involving sexual exploitation of minors and transportation of minors in interstate commerce with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Sending indecent images of children across state lines via the Internet is a common example of conduct that may violate the statue.
Anyone who is charged with committing a federal sex crime or with engaging in a conspiracy to do so will face a significant prison sentence and fine if convicted. Moreover, the mere publication of the charges in local media can seriously adversely affect a person’s reputation in the community. An experienced criminal defense attorney can offer helpful advice on how to mitigate the charges, obtain an acquittal if the facts are favorable or negotiate a favorable plea agreement if appropriate.
Source: FindLaw, “Sex Offenders and Sex Offenses: Overview,” accessed Jan. 6, 2018