AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE CRIME OF RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT TO CHILDREN.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
The general court finds that the majority of state
criminal codes and the model penal code include reckless endangerment offenses.
These crimes punish reckless conduct that creates a risk of, but do not
necessarily result in, serious physical injury. These crimes do not punish a
particular injury or outcome, but seek to prevent and penalize the risk that is
created. While examples of offenses from states that have adopted reckless
endangerment statutes often involve physical acts, such offenses include
conduct that does not involve the performance of a physical act. Several
states limit the statutes' application to creating a risk of serious physical
injury to children.
The general court further finds that there are growing numbers of complaints
concerning the sexual abuse of minors by non-custodial adults who have been
recklessly placed or retained in positions of trust and authority. The general
court recognizes that reckless behavior may serve as the basis for criminal
liability for certain crimes committed in the commonwealth. The general court
hereby finds that there is a significant public interest and urgent necessity
to protect children from physical and sexual abuse by penalizing reckless
behavior that creates a risk of serious physical injury or sexual abuse to a
child. It is the intention of
the general court to penalize reckless behavior, including the failure to act
where civil or criminal law has imposed a duty on persons to act in a certain
manner, which results in a risk of serious physical injury or sexual abuse to a
SECTION 2.Chapter 265 of
the General Laws is hereby amended by
inserting after section 13K the following section:-
Section 13L. For the purposes of this section, the following words shall
"Child", any person under 18 years of age.
"Serious bodily injury", bodily injury which results in a permanent
disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or
or substantial risk of death.
"Sexual abuse", an indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 under
section 13B of chapter 265; indecent assault and battery on a person age 14
over under section 13H of said chapter 265; rape under section 22 of said
chapter 265; rape of a child under 16 with force under section 22A of said
rape and abuse of a child under section 23 of said chapter 265; assault with
intent to commit rape under section 24 of said chapter 265; and assault of a
child with intent to commit rape under section 24B of said chapter 265.
Whoever wantonly or recklessly engages in conduct that creates a substantial
risk of serious bodily injury or sexual abuse to a child or wantonly or
recklessly fails to take reasonable steps to alleviate such risk where there is
a duty to act shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for
not more than 2> years.
For the purposes of this section, such wanton or reckless behavior occurs
a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable
risk that his acts, or omissions where there is a duty to act, would result in
serious bodily injury or sexual abuse to a child. The risk must be of such
nature and degree that disregard of the risk constitutes a gross deviation from
the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the