Dissemination of Obscene Material

In Massachusetts, it is unlawful to disseminate any matter which is obscene.  General Laws Chapter 272, Section 29, punishes the crime of Dissemination of Obscene Material with imprisonment to the House of Corrections for up to 2.5 years, or to state prison for up to 5 years.  Additionally, the legislature has specifically mandated that a prosecution for Dissemination of Obscene Material may not be 'continued without a finding' or placed on file.

In order to prove the crime of Dissemination of Obscene Material, the prosecutor is required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt:
  1. That the matter in evidence is obscene;
  2. That the defendant disseminated the matter or possessed the matter with the intent to disseminate it; and
  3. That the defendant knew of the obscene character of the matter.
The type of material that is regulated by the crime of Dissemination of Obscene Material includes any printed material or visual representation, including but not limited to books, magazines, films, records, photographs, figures, and statues.

The material is considered to be obscene if, taken as a whole, it meets all three of the following requirements:
  1. It appeals to the prurient interest of an average citizen of the county where the offense was committed;
  2. It shows or describes sexual conduct in a way that is patently offensive to an average citizen of the county; and
  3. It has no serious value of a literary, artistic, political or scientific kind.
"Prurient interest" means a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion or an unhealthy interest about sexual matters which is repugnant to prevailing moral standards.  To this end, typical sexual matters and erotic materials are not the same thing as obscenity.  Nudity alone is not identical with obscenity and the fact that materials may arouse sexual thoughts and desires is not enough for the material to be considered obscene. 

If you have been charged with the crime of Dissemination of Obscene Material or any other Sex Crime, you should immediately consult with an experienced Boston Criminal Lawyer.  Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis can help explain and protect your legal rights, and is available 24/7 for consultation.

To schedule a Free Consultation with a Boston Criminal Lawyer, Contact Us Online or call 617-325-9500.