Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 258E offers protection against “harassment,” regardless of any family relationship. Harassment is defined as:

“(i) 3 or more acts of willful and malicious conduct aimed at a specific person committed with the intent to cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property and that does in fact cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property; or (ii) an act that: (A) by force, threat or duress causes another to involuntarily engage in sexual relations.

What is the punishment for a violation of a 258E order?
A violation of 258E is a criminal offense. The violator can be fined up to $5,000, or imprisoned for up to 2 ½ years, or both. Someone convicted under 258E must also pay a fine of $25. Also, the court may order that the defendant complete an appropriate treatment program based on the offense and may also order the defendant to pay you for all damages, including, but not limited to, loss of earnings, out-of-pocket losses for injuries or property damage, cost of replacement locks, medical expenses, cost of getting an unlisted telephone number, and reasonable attorney’s fees. Also, the judge must require any person who has been referred to a treatment program as a condition of probation to pay $350. For any Harassment Prevention Order violation, the judge may order the defendant to complete an appropriate treatment program.

This information does not constitute legal advice and is written for general information purposes only. Individuals should consult with a lawyer for specific legal advice.

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