The age of consent in Massachusetts is the age at which a person can consent to sex with another person over the age of 21. Massachusetts is one of 8 states with different ages of sexual consent for males and females.

Generally, the age of consent for females is 16, and for males it is 18. This only applies to heterosexual conduct. Massachusetts currently has no law which addresses the age of consent for homosexual conduct.

Under Massachusetts state laws, the standard for the age of consent is even higher when one partner maintains a position of power over the other partner, such as an employer, a teacher, or a member of the clergy. In such cases the age of consent may be 18 and in some instances 21 years old.

Persons must be at least 18 years old to legally marry in the state of Massachusetts. Unlike some other states, parental permission is not considered to be sufficient to allow persons to marry who are under 18 years old. A court order must be obtained from a district court where the minor resides before the marriage documents can be filed.

The Crime of “Criminal Inducement”

Massachusetts is the only state that specifically considers the victim’s morality when applying certain sexual consent laws. For example, the crime of Criminal Inducement occurs when an offender induces a person under the age of 18 who is “of chaste life” to have unlawful sexual relations with them.

However, penalties for criminal inducement are less severe when compared to similar laws of other states. In Massachusetts, the penalty for criminal inducement is 3 years in state prison, whereas in other states the sentence may be 10 to 20 years in prison for similar offenses.  Should you have reason to believe that you may have had sex with an underage minor, consider talking with an experienced Massachusetts criminal lawyer using LegalMatch – just click the “Find a Lawyer” button above.