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Session Law

2004

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Chapter 501 AN ACT RELATIVE TO CRIMES AGAINST ELDERS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 72K, as appearing in the 2002 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 72K. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-

"Bodily injury", substantial impairment of the physical condition including, but not limited to, any burn, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, injury to any internal organ, or any injury which occurs as the result of repeated harm to any bodily function or organ, including human skin.

"Serious bodily injury", bodily injury which results in a permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ, or substantial risk of death.

"Sexual assault", a violation or attempt to commit a violation of section 13B, 13F, 13H, 22, 22A, 24 or section 24B of chapter 265 or section 3 of chapter 272.

(b) The attorney general may file a civil action against a person who commits abuse, mistreatment or neglect of a patient or resident or who misappropriates patient or resident property, or against a person who wantonly or recklessly permits or causes another to commit abuse, mistreatment or neglect of a patient or resident or who misappropriates patient or resident property. The civil penalty for such abuse, mistreatment, neglect or misappropriation shall not exceed: $5,000 if no bodily injury results; $10,000 if bodily injury results; $20,000 if sexual assault or serious bodily injury results; and $50,000 if death results. Section 60B of chapter 231 shall not apply to an action brought by the attorney general pursuant to this section. Nothing in this section shall preclude the filing of any action brought by the attorney general or a private party pursuant to chapter 93A or any action by the department pursuant to this chapter.

SECTION 2. Section 13H of chapter 265, as appearing in the 2002 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-

Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on an elder or person with a disability, as defined in section 13K, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years, or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years, and whoever commits a second or subsequent such offense shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 20 years. A prosecution commenced under this paragraph shall not be placed on file nor continued without a finding.

SECTION 3. Paragraph (a) of section 13K of said chapter 265, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting before the definition of "Bodily injury" the following definition:-

"Abuse", physical contact which either harms or creates a substantial likelihood of harm.

SECTION 4. Said paragraph (a) of said section 13K of said chapter 265, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 9, 22, 40 and 45, the word "physical".

SECTION 5. Said paragraph (a) of said section 13K of said chapter 265, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the definition of "Elder" the following 2 definitions:-

"Mistreatment", the use of medications or treatments, isolation, or physical or chemical restraints which harms or creates a substantial likelihood of harm.

"Neglect", the failure to provide treatment or services necessary to maintain health and safety and which either harms or creates a substantial likelihood of harm.

SECTION 6. Said paragraph (a) of section 13K of said chapter 265, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out the definition of "Person with a disability" and inserting in place thereof the following definition:-

"Person with disability", a person with a permanent or long-term physical or mental impairment that prevents or restricts the individual's ability to provide for his or her own care or protection.

SECTION 7. Said section 13K of said chapter 265, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after paragraph (a) the following paragraph:-

(a 1/2) Whoever commits an assault and battery upon an elder or person with a disability shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 3 years or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years, or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 8. Said section 13K of said chapter 265, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after paragraph (d) the following paragraph:-

(d 1/2) Whoever, being a caretaker of an elder or person with a disability, wantonly or recklessly commits or permits another to commit abuse, neglect or mistreatment upon such elder or person with a disability, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 3 years, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years, or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 9. Section 38 of said chapter 265 is hereby repealed.

Approved January 11, 2005.

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