“An Act Relative
to the Crime of Criminal Harassment,” G.L. c. 265 sec. 43A, makes it a crime to
willfully and maliciously engage in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of
acts over a period of time directed at a specific person, which seriously
alarms that person and would cause a reasonable
person to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Conduct or acts
may include, but are not limited to, those made by using any telephonic or telecommunication device such as e-mail or Internet communications.
The crime is
punishable by imprisonment in the house of correction for up to two
and-one-half years, a $1000 fine, or imprisonment and fine. A second or
subsequent offense carries a potential penalty of ten
years in state prison.
Massachusetts did not have an
anti-bullying statute. However, this criminal
harassment statute may apply in instances of serious and persistent bullying.