Reckless Endangerment of a Child Under Eighteen
G.L. c. 265 § 13L
- A person is charged with wanton or reckless conduct creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or sexual abuse to a child under the age of eighteen if the Commonwealth can prove three elements, beyond a reasonable doubt:
- (1) That the defendant engaged in conduct which created a substantial and unjustifiable risk of serious bodily injury or sexual abuse to the alleged victim;
- (2) That the defendant’s conduct was wanton or reckless; and
- (3) That the alleged victim was under the age of eighteen years.
- Practice Notes
- The Commonwealth must prove that there was a possibility of risk to the alleged victim created by the defendants conduct which created a substantial and unjustifiable risk of serious bodily injury – resulting in permanent disfigurement, a protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ, or a substantial risk of death- or sexual abuse – conduct amounting to an indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen, an indecent assault or battery on a person fourteen or older, rape, rape of a child under sixteen with force, rape and abuse of a child, assault with intent to commit rape, assault of a child with intent to commit rape.
- The Commonwealth must prove that the defendant’s actions went beyond mere negligence and amounted to recklessness, meaning the defendant knew or should have known, that such actions were very likely to cause substantial harm to someone, but he or she ran that risk and went ahead anyway, consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk.
- The Commonwealth is not required to prove that the defendant intended that the alleged victim be injured or sexually abused, but it must prove that he or she was consciously aware of and disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk of serious bodily injury or of sexual abuse.