Indecent Assault and Battery is an intentional, unprivileged, and indecent touching of another person without that other person’s consent. An unwanted kiss, the touching of one’s hand to another’s breast or buttocks area without prior consent, overt or implied, are just 2 ways which can constitute the crime of Indecent Assault and Battery. A child under 14 cannot legally consent to any such touching and it does not matter if the defendant did not know that the other person was under 14 years of age.
There need not be any real force or violence attendant to the touching, as an assault and battery need only be an intentional and unjustified touching, however slight. Moreover, it is not necessary for the victim of an indecent assault and battery to say or signal “NO” for an encounter to be considered legally non-consensual. The list of intimate body parts which are considered “private areas” under the law may consist of the breasts, abdomen, buttocks or pubic areas, but this list is not exhaustive. The decision as to whether an act is considered indecent is determined by the judge or jury applying common understandings and contemporary moral values. A kiss or other touching between young adults may be viewed quite differently than such a touching where the parties are much farther apart in age. A person may also be convicted for Indecent Assault and Battery even if the touch was not meant to be indecent if it would be understood to be so by others. As is the case with many other criminal offenses, intoxication on the part of the defendant or both individuals or “just joking around” is not a defense.