SECTION 1. Section 15 of chapter 32 of the General Laws, is hereby amended by adding after subsection (7) the following: --
(8) Innocent Beneficiary – The beneficiary shall be relieved of the forfeiture herein if the beneficiary establishes (a) that he or she did not know and had no reason to know of the member’s conduct, or (b) that it would be inequitable to hold the beneficiary responsible for the member’s conduct, or (c) that the beneficiary is a victim of the member’s conduct.
(9) Knowledge or Reason to Know – The beneficiary has knowledge or reason to know of the member’s conduct if he or she actually knew of the conduct when it occurred, or if a reasonable person would have known of the conduct. All of the facts and circumstances are considered in determining whether the beneficiary had reason to know of the conduct. The facts and circumstances include, but are not limited to, the nature of the conduct, the beneficiary’s participation in the conduct, the beneficiary’s educational background, and the extent of the beneficiary’s willful failure to inquire about the conduct.
(10) Inequity – All of the facts and circumstances are considered in determining whether the beneficiary significantly benefitted, directly or indirectly, from the conduct. A significant benefit is any benefit in excess of normal support.
(11) Beneficiary as Victim – All of the facts and circumstances are considered in determining whether the beneficiary is a victim of the member’s conduct. The word “victim” includes any natural person who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional, or financial harm as the result of the member’s commission or attempted commission of a crime including, but not limited to, violations of abuse prevention orders under chapter 209A and harassment prevention orders under chapter 258E.
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