Open and Gross Public Lewdness Indecent Exposure
Open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior is proscribed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 Section 16. This type of behavior includes the deliberate exposure of buttocks, genitalia or female breasts.
To convict a defendant of this offense, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- Exposed her/his buttocks, genitals or female breasts to one or more persons;
- Did so intentionally;
- Did so openly, meaning that he/she either intended exposure to the public or had a reckless disregard for a substantial risk of public exposure. “Openly” only refers to the intent that the act be witnessed by the unwilling. It does not necessarily mean and does not require that the behavior take place in a public locale;
- Did so in a way to produce shock or distress; and
- Actually caused one or more persons shock or distress because of the exposure.
Charges of open and gross lewd and lascivious behavior often involve public masturbation. The law is designed to punish those who impose lewdness on unwilling people, and it does not apply to constitutionally protected expressions. It also does not apply to sexual acts that take place in an area where one can reasonably expect privacy. For example, if another person accidentally sees you engaging in a sex act through the window of your home, this would likely not amount to open and gross lewd and lascivious behavior. Indecent exposure, which is a crime under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 S53, is a lesser included offense of open and gross lewdness.
If you are convicted of this offense, you face imprisonment in the state prison for up to three years or in jail for up to two years or a fine of up to $300. As such, it is a felony that is significantly more serious than the misdemeanor of indecent exposure.
In order to be convicted of Indecent Exposure under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 272, section 53, the prosecution must show that the defendant intentionally exposed his or her genitals to one or more persons and thus offended one or more persons.
Violation of this chapter and section is considered a misdemeanor offense exposing the offender to a house of correction sentence up to six months and a two hundred dollar fine.
If you are facing charges for Indecent Exposure in Newburyport, Salem, Boston, Amesbury, Salisbury, Lawrence, Ipswich, or any town in the Essex, Suffolk, or Middlesex counties in Massachusetts, call Criminal Attorney Bonavita immediately at 978-376-6746 or email her with your case information!