The Sensibilities of Our Forefathers
The History of Sodomy Laws in the United States
By George Painter
© Copyright, George Painter 1991-2002
"The detestable and abominable sin of buggery with
mankind or beast, which is contrary to the very light of nature."
The Colonial Period, 1607-1776
I. Plymouth Colony 1620-1691
It appears that the earliest colonists did not necessarily adopt English laws
when they settled Massachusetts. There is no record of a sodomy prosecution in
Plymouth or Massachusetts Bay until after the adoption of the first statute
against it. The Mayflower Compact, signed in 1620 upon arrival at Plymouth,
required all settlers to obey laws that might be enacted by the colony, but was
silent as to the laws of England.1
In 1629, five "beastly Sodomitical boys" were discovered on a ship
bound from England to Plymouth. They were not prosecuted in Plymouth, but sent
back "to be punished in Old England as the crime deserved."2
The penalty for sodomy in England at this time was death.
In 1636, Plymouth Colony adopted a set of laws3
that included a sentence of death for sodomy and buggery, although the law made
no mention of gender, unlike the male-only English law.
In 1637, two men in Plymouth, John Allexander and Thomas Roberts, were tried
for "lewd behavior and unclean carriage."4
They engaged in frottage with each other, apparently frequently. Allexander was
sentenced to be "severely whipped" and "burnt in the shoulder
with a hot iron" as well as banished from the colony. Roberts also was
"severely whipped" and returned to his master. The death penalty was
not exacted because the two did not actually engage in sodomy.
Two other men were prosecuted for a similar offense in 1642. Edward Michell
and Edward Preston were found guilty of "lewd & sodomitical practices
tending to sodomy."5 Again, because they did
not engage in sodomy proper, their penalty was lighter than death. They were
sentenced to be "whipped" publicly twice.
In 1649, there were two more sentences. First, Sara Norman and Mary Hammon
were convicted of "lewd behavior each with [the] other upon a bed."6
No specificity was given in the charge as to the exact nature of the behavior,
but it again fell short of the colonists’ definition of sodomy. Norman was
sentenced only to public acknowledgement of her "unchaste behavior"
and Hammon was not prosecuted.
Later that year, Richard Berry and Teage Joanes were held on charges of
sodomy and "other unclean practices."7
The charge made by Berry against Joanes apparently was false, and Berry was
sentenced to be "whipped at the post."
In 1671, the Plymouth law was changed8 to adopt
the wording of Leviticus and to exempt those under fourteen years of age and
those who were victims of assault from prosecution.9
II. Massachusetts Bay Colony 1629-1691
The first charter for the Massachusetts Bay Company was granted by the King
of England in 1629. Because the charter named no site for its meetings, the
company moved itself to New England and set itself up in what now is the Boston
area, but actual government structure did not take place until several years
later. The charter was determined to be invalid by English officials, but the
colonists refused to surrender it.10
A proposed sodomy law for Massachusetts Bay, suggested in 1636 by John
Cotton, would have made sodomy between two men or between two women a capital
offense, with relations between men and women legal.11
It was not enacted.12
In 1637, the English government attempted to force the colony to surrender
its charter, but was not successful.13
After a period of turbulence over religious doctrine, Massachusetts Bay
enacted its first set of criminal laws in 164114
that was misnamed the "Body of Liberties." The sodomy provision15
adopted the wording of Leviticus.
The first known prosecution was that of servant Elizabeth Johnson in 1642.16
She was sentenced to a fine and to be "severely whipped" for
unspecified "unseemly practices betwixt her and another maid[.]"
A curious case from 1670 involved William Stacey, apparently a teenager or
young man, who voluntarily asked for punishment because "Satan[,] having
filled his heart & layed a temptation before him, his corrupt nature was
ready to embrace it." Whatever this temptation, it "afflicted"
his parents and master’s family. He asked the court to be "instrumental
for his humbling; & he hoped forever a reclamation from any horrid
vice." The court obliged him, directing that he wear a rope outside his
clothing and that he receive a flogging.17
In 1684, the English government finally successfully revoked the charter of
Massachusetts Bay Colony, thus restoring the colony to royal rule, reinstating
the English sodomy law in the colony.18
III. Massachusetts 1691-present
A new charter granted in 1691 merged Maine, Plymouth, and Massachusetts Bay
colonies into the single colony of Massachusetts. Thus, the English buggery
statute was in effect in all three areas.19
In 1697, the above colonies were united into Massachusetts. New laws were
enacted, including one against sodomy.20 A
preamble to the law stated that its purpose was to avoid
the detestable and abominable sin of buggery with mankind or beast, which
is contrary to the very light of nature[.]21
The language of Leviticus was modified slightly, but the reach of the law
covered only male-male contacts between humans. The death penalty was retained.22
A prosecution and apparent death sentence for a violation of this law took
place in 1712.23 A man known only as Mingo was
indicted on a charge of "forcible Buggery." He apparently was tried
almost immediately and he was found guilty. Mingo may have been hanged a couple
of weeks later, but the evidence is not clear.
Period Analysis: Puritan Massachusetts treated sodomy and other
erotic activity harshly. The only two documented cases of Lesbians being
prosecuted for sexual activity during the colonial era both occurred in
Massachusetts. This harshness was not based on English law, but on statutes
of local origin and based upon Biblical proscriptions in Leviticus.
The Post-Revolution Period, 1776-1873
The Massachusetts law next was changed in 178524
by eliminating the moralizing preamble from the law.25
The Massachusetts Supreme Court unanimously decided in the 1804 case of Commonwealth
v. Leach et al.26 that the common law of
England and all statutes made in supplementation of it were in force in
The next change in the sodomy law was made in 180528
when the death penalty was reduced to solitary confinement for up to one year,
followed by hard labor for up to 10 years.29 The
crime also was reworded to eliminate the Leviticus-like language and forbade
"any man" from committing the "crime against nature with any man
or male child[.]"30
A new code adopted in 183531 revised the
sodomy law three ways. First, the law was made gender-neutral.32
Second, the maximum penalty was doubled to 20 years.33
Third, the references to solitary confinement and hard labor were eliminated.34
An 1853 guide for justices of the peace35
published a standard complaint for sodomy referring to all acts of sodomy as
being committed by a laborer, as an assault, and against a male.36
This showed the prevailing belief about sodomitical acts in Massachusetts.
Although it did not lead to a prosecution, famed author Horatio Alger (then a
minister) was accused of violating the sodomy law with several boys in his
parish in Brewster in 1866. Alger left town just a step ahead of a lynch mob. He
left for New York City where he obtained immortality with his writing.37
The first reported sodomy case in Massachusetts was Commonwealth v. Snow,38
decided in 1873. This was a case of consensual sodomy that led to remorse on the
part of the solicited party, who attempted suicide. The Massachusetts Supreme
Court ruled that Willard Smith, the solicited party, was an accomplice, and that
his testimony needed corroboration. The corroboration offered was deemed
sufficient by the Court, and Snow’s conviction was affirmed.39
Period Analysis: Massachusetts was the fourth of the twelve
colonies with a death penalty for sodomy to reduce the penalty to a term of
imprisonment. Although that perhaps is surprising considering its history of
puritanism, the residual penalty still was severe. The state recognized only
the common-law definition of sodomy, thus freeing Lesbians from prosecution.
The Victorian Morality Period, 1873-1948
A law adopted in 187940 prohibited the sale,
lending, gift, exhibit or offer to sell, lend or give away any "instrument
or other article intended to be used for self-abuse[.]"41
This, although aimed at masturbation, obviously included sex toys.
In 1887, the Massachusetts legislature enacted a statute42
creating an entirely separate crime from the sodomy law, "unnatural and
lascivious acts." This clearly was an attempt to cover oral contacts. The
penalty was less than that for sodomy, a fine of $100-$1,000 and/or a prison
term of up to five years, or up to three years in a house of correction.43
Indictments for this crime did not have to give a description of the act
charged, but a defendant could ask for a bill of particulars.44
The first reported case under this law was Commonwealth v. Dill,45
decided in 1894. The unanimous decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, that
then included Oliver Wendell Holmes, was that an indictment saying only that a
defendant committed "a certain unnatural and lascivious act" was
In 1908, the Massachusetts Supreme Court decided the case of Commonwealth
v. Delano.47 This exceedingly brief and
nonspecific case decided that "any and all unnatural and lascivious
acts" were outlawed by the 1887 statute, whether or not they included
Two unsuccessful bills in the 1914 legislative session concerned morals. One49
would have permitted the warrantless arrest of any person found committing any
of the "morals" crimes. Another50 would
have required a full trial for any person accused of any "morals"
crime, prohibiting disposition through guilty pleas or pleas of nolo
In 1915, a law was enacted prohibiting resorting to any café, restaurant, or
saloon "for the purpose of immoral solicitation or immoral
A law to make "substantive corrections in existing laws" was
enacted in 1918.52 A provision lowered to 2½
years the maximum sentence for a male convict in the house of correction,53
which affected the 1887 law’s existing three-year maximum there. This also
lowered the penalty for violation of the "sex toys" law.54
In 1921, the Massachusetts Supreme Court unanimously upheld a conviction for
maintaining a nuisance in Commonwealth v. Porter.55
A house in which "indecent and unnatural acts were committed by men with
others of their sex" was found to be in violation of state law, even though
the acts did not occur between men and women.56
The Court also found the silence of the house’s proprietor (the defendant)
when informed of the goings-on therein to be relevant to the trial, and
admissible as evidence against him.57
In 1923, Massachusetts enacted a law58 that
permitted the trial judge to bar the public from trials in which the victim of
"any crime involving sex" was under 17 years of age.59
This law was changed in 193160 to raise the
age to 18 for any victim of a sex crime and remains substantially the same
A statute from 193962 required notice to
police and the furnishing of personal data about any person convicted of sodomy
who was about to be released from a penal or corrective institution in the
Another law of the same year64 revised the
"immoral bargaining" law by replacing the word "saloon" with
the term "tavern."65
In 1943, the Massachusetts legislature enacted a law66
requiring the filing of a mental health report on any persons arrested for
sodomy, before they could receive bail.67
Apparently this created an administrative nightmare because, in 1945, the law
was weakened68 so that the reports were required
only for those arrested a second time.69
Massachusetts enacted a psychopathic offender law70
in 1947. The law defined a psychopath as those
who by an habitual course of misconduct in sexual matters have evidenced
an utter lack of power to control their sexual impulses and who, as a result
are likely to attack or otherwise inflict injury, loss, pain or other evil
on the objects of their uncontrolled and uncontrollable desires.71
This law did not make it clear that these evil individuals actually had to
commit a crime in order to trigger the operation of the law. In fact, any person
knowing of such a person could file a petition in the probate court to have
proceedings instituted.72 The court could order a
commitment, and the person so committed was to be held until full recovery from
the psychopathy.73 The breadth of this law made
it possible for any Gay man or Lesbian to be committed by the local homophobe.
Despite this law, a special commission created by the legislature continued
to investigate sex crimes and make recommendations against them. The preliminary
report74 issued in 1947 noted that the three
areas with which the commission had been charged specially to investigate were
1) the feasibility of mandatory sentences for sex crimes; 2) stricter parole
supervision of sex criminals; and 3) the advisability of segregation of the
criminals while incarcerated.75 The brief,
six-paragraph report concluded that meaningful suggestions could not be made by
the committee without "going beyond the limits imposed" by the
authorizing resolution.76 Although the commission
"has achieved considerable progress, the magnitude of the task has
prevented completion of the investigation."77
In a suggested law, the commission defined "sexual deviate" as one
whose "expression of the sexual instinct" was "associated with
the infliction of injury, loss or pain on any person, creature or object, or
which in the expression thereof constitute a public nuisance and evidence a
deficiency of moral sense or control."78 The
commission did not explain how an "object" could suffer pain from the
sexual desires of a person, and by referring to "a public nuisance,"
apparently attempted to cover consensual sex in quasi-public places.
The final report79 noted that, over a 43-year
period studied, sex crimes had remained a very small percentage of all crimes
prosecuted in Massachusetts and boldly stated, regarding the claim that sex
crimes were on the increase: "If sex crimes seem more numerous, it is
because those involving violence capture the headlines and arouse the public
emotionally."80 All categories of sex crime
had been reviewed by the commission, including sodomy, but the
range of behavior involved in these acts [all sex crimes] is too great,
they differ too widely in their danger to the public, and the steps
necessary to protect the public from them are too distinct to permit of
consideration in a single legislative program.81
Some sex offenses, including sodomy and unnatural and lascivious act,
"justify further investigation of the offender to determine whether he is
potentially dangerous."82 In defining who
was a "sexual deviate," the commission chose a definition of
"atypical" sexual activity, which it chose over the word
"abnormal."83 The reasoning behind
rejecting "abnormal" was not given. Indeterminate sentences were
rejected by the commission because the public would be protected from the
deviate only during the period of incarceration84
and institutions were rampant with sex offenses themselves. "Imprisoning a
sex offender in a mass-custody penal institution is like committing a malarial
patient to a swamp."85 Recommended instead
were "psychiatric study and therapy and a good activity program."86
Period Analysis: Massachusetts lived up to its tradition of
puritanism by enacting one of only four laws in the nation outlawing the use
of "sex toys" and being one of the first states to expand the
reach of sodomy laws to cover oral sex when it outlawed "unnatural and
lascivious acts" in 1887, although the penalty for such acts was less
than that for sodomy. This statute was interpreted to include "any and
all" such acts, apparently allowing the prosecution of any erotic
activity. Massachusetts also was among the early states to enact a
"psychopathic offender" law, but its law permitted the law to be
exercised against any person thought to be "sexually abnormal" by
another citizen, whether or not the "abnormal" person committed a
The Kinsey Period, 1948-1986
In 1950, a medical journal article87 reported
on how sex offenders, including those under the "unnatural and lascivious
act" statute, were handled in court. A total of 14% of the sex offenders
arrested in one year in the city of Cambridge were under this law, and the law
was used to arrest numerous people for unusual opposite-sex sexual activity as
well as same-sex activity. "Unnatural act is also a complaint frequently
brought against homosexuals."88 Social
workers, at whom the journal was aimed, heard "a lot about
homosexuals." Most caused no problems for society and the
best advice to give the true biological homosexual is that he should
restrict his sex life to his own home with other homosexuals and keep out of
public places and avoid seducing boys.89
A critical analysis of the psychopath law was published in 1952.90
First, it was pointed out that the psychopathic offender law had been enacted
"as a result of considerable public clamor for legal checks against sex
crime[.]"91 The law was "awkward and
oblique[.]"92 The results of the harsh law
included that "relatively minor sex deviates whose crimes are
misdemeanors" were committed for life to an institution.93
No mental health care was given by other states with such laws to those
institutionalized under the law.94 Despite all
the hoopla, only one person had been committed under the law in the five years
of its existence.95
One of the earliest constitutional challenges to a sodomy law was decided by
the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1954 in Jaquith v. Commonwealth.96
Kenneth Jaquith had been convicted under the "unnatural and lascivious
acts" statute. The unanimous decision was that, although the Constitution
required sufficient definition of any criminal offense,97
the words "unnatural and lascivious act" were
of common usage and indicate with reasonable clarity the kind and
character of conduct which the Legislature intended to prohibit and punish.
These words have a well defined, well understood, and generally accepted
irregular indulgence in sexual behavior, illicit sexual relations, and
infamous conduct which is lustful, obscene, and in deviation of accepted
customs and manners.99
The Court felt that it was
enough to say that it generally has been held that the common sense of
the community, as well as the sense of decency, propriety, and morality
which all respectable persons usually entertain, is sufficient to apply the
statute to a situation and determine what particular kind of conduct
offends. Further specification in the indictments would be an offence [sic]
against common decency.100
Thus, whatever a police officer or prosecutor felt at a particular time to be
"unnatural and lascivious" was sufficient for prosecution.
The sweeping psychopathic offender law of Massachusetts was narrowed in a new
law of 1954.101 Now, in order to trigger the
snare, one actually had to be convicted of a crime. Included in the list of
triggering laws were sodomy, lewd and lascivious conduct, unnatural act, and an
attempt to commit any of these crimes.102
An analysis of this new law103 explained that
"abuses" occurred under the previous law, "in which a number of
persons were committed without the proper legal safeguards of notice and a
The most famous name to be nabbed by the Massachusetts sodomy law was George
Curley, the son of former Boston Mayor and Massachusetts Governor James Curley.
The younger Curley was arrested in 1957, along with a physician, on
"morals" charges involving a male teenager.105
The psychopathic offender law was revised again in 1958.106
It limited the applicability of the law to sexual acts with persons under the
age of 16.107
In the 1959 case of Commonwealth v. Marshall,108
the Massachusetts Supreme Court unanimously permitted sodomy convictions based
largely on circumstantial evidence.109
A new law of 1960110 excluded anyone
convicted of sodomy or an attempt to commit it (but not unnatural and lascivious
acts) from early release from parole.111
In 1962, the "immoral bargaining" law again was amended112
to make the owner or manager of the place criminally responsible for immoral
bargaining occurring in the tavern.
A proposed new criminal code was published in 1972.113
As proposed, the "crime against nature" and "unnatural and
lascivious acts" laws would have been repealed, with the age of consent set
at 16.114 However, the code never has been
The change in both the times and the makeup of the Massachusetts Supreme
Court were reflected in the next reported case, Commonwealth v. Balthazar,115
decided in 1974. Overruling Jaquith and acknowledging the change in
society in the previous 20 years as well as a right to privacy defined by the
United States Supreme Court, Justice Herbert Wilkins spoke for the Court in
saying that in light
of these changes and in light of our own awareness that community values
on the subject of permissible sexual conduct no longer are as [sic]
monolithic as the Jaquith case suggested they were in 1954, we
conclude that [the unnatural and lascivious acts statute] must be construed
as inapplicable to private, consensual conduct of adults.116
Curiously though, in this case the defendant’s conviction was upheld
because his actions were not consensual.117
In 1977, the Massachusetts Supreme Court overturned a conviction for an
unnatural and lascivious act committed in a public place in Commonwealth v.
Scagliotti.118 The defendant had been
convicted of consensual sex in a cubicle in a theatre. The Supreme Court agreed
with Scagliotti that the trial court erred in instructing the jury that such a
cubicle was a public place as a matter of law.119
The Court felt that the issue of whether it was a public or private place was a
matter for the jury to determine.120
In 1980, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, dealing with the case of Commonwealth
v. Sefranka,121 shot down police actions
entrapping Gay men into soliciting them and then arresting them as a
"disorderly person" or a "lewd, wanton and lascivious
person." The action occurred at a public rest area in which the men out
cruising would flash head lights at other cars, and one would get out of the car
and go into the other car for sex. Defendant Sefranka responded to undercover
police flashing their headlights and was arrested when he solicited the police.122
The unanimous decision was that the term "lewd, wanton and lascivious
person" was unconstitutionally vague as it applied to consenting adults.123
An unusual case from 1981, Riegle v. Terrizzi et al.,124
was decided by the Suffolk County Court of Appeals. Riegle, a reporter for Gay
Community News, had been ordered to leave a public restroom area when he
arrived to report on police arrests in the Boston Public Library. Riegle and the
newspaper sought a preliminary injunction to prevent the police from barring
them from the area during arrests.125 The
appellate court declared the suit to be "frivolous" and punitively
gave the police defendants "double costs."126
Also in 1981, the Massachusetts Supreme Court voted 4-3 to overturn a
conviction for an "unnatural and lascivious act" in the case of Commonwealth
v. Ferguson.127 Ferguson had been arrested
for being fellated in a parked car. Speaking for the majority, Justice Paul
Liacos said that there was insufficient evidence that the parked car was a
"public place." Considering that it was nighttime, that the car was
parked in a mixed residential and commercial area of Boston, and that the
temperature was below zero with a strong wind (thus with few people outside),
Liacos found that the car’s location was such that Ferguson took
"reasonable measures to secure [privacy]."128
Writing for the dissenters, Chief Justice Edward Hennessey believed that there
was "no reasonable expectation of privacy" in a parked car "in an
Less fortunate was the plaintiff in the 1984 case of Commonwealth v.
Bloom.130 The Court of Appeals unanimously
upheld the conviction of Frederick Bloom for engaging in consensual sexual
relations in a public restroom. The Court found that the conduct occurred in a
public area of the restroom and that overhead surveillance of the urinals did
not violate privacy rights since it was "conceivable" that the
investigators hidden therein saw "no more than an upper body view[.]"131
The Massachusetts Supreme Court refused to review this case.132
Period Analysis: The first broad constitutional challenge to a
sodomy law after the Kinsey studies were published was in Massachusetts. The
state’s highest court upheld the law in 1954, arguing that it was
necessary for the public good. The same year, the legislature greatly
revised the psychopathic offender law, now requiring the commission of a
criminal act in order to trigger the law’s operation. A change in the
political and legal climate in Massachusetts led to a major reversal of
constitutional law in the state. In 1974, the Massachusetts Supreme Court
acknowledged that times had changed in the preceding twenty years and ruled
that the state’s "unnatural and lascivious acts" law could not
be applied to private, consensual adult acts. By logical implication,
neither can the "crime against nature" law. The Court extended the
definition of "private" to parked cars on deserted streets.
The Post-Hardwick Period, 1986-Present
In 1992, a shocking raid on a private home occurred in Boston. Mysteriously,
a police officer obtained a pass to a "Boston Jacks" party where 160
men were engaging in an evening of mutual masturbation. No search warrant was
used, and ten squad cars of backup police arrived. Arrests made were on the
basis of obscenity and "operating a house of ill fame." Although a
police official claimed that the raid was an "aberration," that it was
outside police policy, and that it would not happen again, nothing in the
article said that charges would be dismissed.133
The Massachusetts Supreme Court put the brakes on the 1990s’s enthusiasm
for sexual offender registration laws. In 1997, in Doe v. Attorney General,134
the Court ruled unanimously that a man convicted of a misdemeanor same-sex
sexual offense could not be subjected to the law without due process hearings.
The law concerning "immoral solicitation or immoral bargaining" in
bars remains on the books135 as is the one
dealing with instruments for "self-abuse."136
Period Analysis: Despite the judicial liberalism that has led to a
major reversal of constitutional law in the state, statutes have remained
that can’t be enforced. The "crime against nature" and
"unnatural and lascivious acts" laws remain, though judicially
2 The Founding of
Massachusetts, (Boston:Massachusetts Historical
Society, 1930), page 71.
1 Arthur Schlesinger, general
ed., The Almanac of American History, (New York:G.P. Putnam’s,
1983), page 38.
3 Records of the Colony of
New Plymouth in New England Laws 1623-1628, [sic]
Vol. 11, (Boston:William White, 1861), page 12, enacted Nov. 15, 1636.
4 Records of the Colony of
New Plymouth, Vol. 1, (Boston:William White,
1855), pages 64 and 68.
Vol. 2, at 35-36.
at 137 and 163.
at 146-147 and 148.
8 The Compact, Charter and
Laws of the Colony of New Plymouth, (Boston:Dutton
& Wentworth, 1836).
at 243-244, ch. II, enacted June 6, 1671.
10 Arthur Schlesinger,
general ed., The Almanac of American History, (New York:G.P. Putnam’s,
1983), pages 42, 42-43, and 45.
11 William R.
Staples, ed., The Colonial Laws of Massachusetts Reprinted from the
Edition of 1672, (Boston:Rockwell & Churchill, 1890), page 35n.
Cotton was influenced by Anne Hutchinson, a religious dissenter who
deemphasized the importance of the clergy in interpreting religious works
and who advocated a "personal" religion. Arthur Schlesinger,
general ed., The Almanac of American History, (New York:G.P. Putnam’s,
1983), page 46.
13 Arthur Schlesinger,
general ed., The Almanac of American History, (New York:G.P. Putnam’s,
1983), page 46.
14 The Colonial
Laws of Massachusetts Reprinted from the Edition of 1660 with the
Supplements to 1672 Containing Also the Body of Liberties of 1641,
(Boston:Maxwell & Churchill, 1889), enacted Nov. 1641. Religious
dissenter Anne Hutchinson and her followers who challenged the authority of
the clergy was the cause. The Hutchinsonites were expelled from
Massachusetts Bay. Arthur Schlesinger, general ed., The Almanac of
American History, (New York:G.P. Putnam’s, 1983), page 47.
page 55, §8. The capital laws were called "Liberty #94."
16 Records and Files of
the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Vol. 1, (Salem:The
Essex Institute, 1911), page 44.
17 Records of the Courts
of Assistants of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay 1630-1692,
Vol. III, (Boston:County of Suffolk, 1928), pages 202-203. The case occurred
on Sep. 8, 1670. Spelling has been modernized.
18 Arthur Schlesinger,
general ed., The Almanac of American History, (New York:G.P. Putnam’s,
1983), page 64.
19 Arthur Schlesinger,
general ed., The Almanac of American History, (New York:G.P. Putnam’s,
1983), page 69.
20 Acts and
Resolves of Massachusetts 1692-1714, page 297, ch.
19, enacted Oct. 23, 1697.
23 The Diary of Samuel
Sewall 1674-1729; Newly Edited from the Manuscript at the Massachusetts
Historical Society by M. Halsey Thomas, Vol. 2,
(New York:Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973), pages 677 and 678.
24 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1784-85, page 126, ch. 46, enacted
Mar. 3, 1785.
26 1 Mass. 59, decided
during September Term 1804.
28 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1804-05, page 209, ch. 133, enacted
Mar. 16, 1805.
31 The Revised Statutes
of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, (Boston:Dutton
& Wentworth, 1836), enacted Nov. 4, 1835.
at 741, §14.
35 A Practical Treatise
upon the Authority and Duty of Justices of the Peace in Criminal
Prosecutions, (Boston:Little, Brown & Co.,
at 714, §1.
37 Edwin P. Hoyt, Horatio’s
Boys: The Life and Works of Horatio Alger, Jr., (Radnor PA:Chilton,
1974), pages 1-6 and 60-63.
38 111 Mass. 411,
decided during January Term 1873.
40 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1879, ch. 159, enacted Mar. 26,
42 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1887, page 1099, ch. 436, enacted
June 16, 1887.
45 36 N.E. 472, decided Feb.
47 83 N.E. 406, decided Jan.
49 House Bill 2554,
introduced May 1, 1914.
50 House Bill 2687,
introduced June 1, 1914.
51 Acts and
Resolves of Massachusetts 1915, page 160, ch. 180,
enacted Apr. 19, 1915.
52 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1918, page 230, ch. 257, enacted May
at 432, §464.
55 129 N.E. 298, decided
Jan. 5, 1921.
58 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1923, page 235, ch. 251, enacted
Apr. 10, 1923.
60 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1931, page 180, ch. 205, enacted
Apr. 16, 1931.
61 Annotated Statutes of
Massachusetts, ch. 278, §16-A.
62 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1939, page 104, ch. 116, enacted
Apr. 5, 1939.
64 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1939, page 568, ch. 451, enacted
Aug. 10, 1939.
at 583, §66.
66 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1943, page 347, ch. 330, enacted May
68 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1945, page 172, ch. 235, enacted
Apr. 24, 1945.
70 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1947, page 745, ch. 683, enacted
July 1, 1947.
at 745-746, §2.
at 746, §5.
74 Preliminary Report of
the Special Commission Investigating the Prevalence of Sex Crimes,
(Boston:Wright & Potter, 1948), House Report No. 1169, issued December,
79 Final Report of the
Special Commission Investigating the Prevalence of Sex Crimes,
(Boston:Wright & Potter, 1948), House Report No. 2169, issued April,
87 Henry M. Baker, "Sex
Offenders in a Massachusetts Court," Journal of Psychiatric Social
Work, 20:102-107 (1950).
90 William J. Curran,
"Commitment of the Sex Offender in Massachusetts," 37 Mass.L.Q. 58
96 120 N.E.2d 188, decided
June 4, 1954.
101 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1954, page 725, ch. 686, enacted
June 10, 1954.
103 William J. Curran, ed.,
1954 Annual Survey of Massachusetts Law, (Boston:Little, Brown &
at 168-169 and 245-247.
105 Columbus Citizen,
Sep. 6, 1957, 12:5.
106 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1958, page 542, ch. 646, enacted
Oct. 15, 1958.
108 155 N.E.2d 798, decided
Jan. 30, 1959.
110 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1960, page 672, ch. 765, enacted
Nov. 9, 1960.
at 674, §4.
112 Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts 1962, page 108, ch. 224, enacted
Mar. 13, 1962.
113 Proposed Criminal
Code of Massachusetts with Revision Commission Notes,
(Rochester:The Lawyers Co-Operative Publishing Company, 1972).
at 103, §17(a)(1).
115 318 N.E.2d 478, decided
Nov. 1, 1974.
118 371 N.E.2d 726, decided
Nov. 9, 1977.
121 414 N.E.2d 602, decided
Dec. 15, 1980.
124 417 N.E.2d 1227,
decided Mar. 19, 1981.
127 422 N.E.2d 1365,
decided July 1, 1981.
130 468 N.E.2d 667, decided
Sep. 19, 1984.
132 471 N.E.2d 1354,
decided Nov. 29, 1984.
Blade, Oct. 16, 1992, page 32.
134 686 N.E.2d 1007,
decided Nov. 17, 1997.
135 Annotated Laws
of Massachusetts, ch. 272, §26.
136 Annotated Laws
of Massachusetts, ch. 272, §21.