We all know what the crime of kidnapping is, and what it entails. Or at least we think we know from what we have seen on tv and in movies. But how does Massachusetts define and deal with the crime of kidnapping?
Unlike the name implies, you do not have to kidnap children in order to be guilty of kidnapping. The crime of kidnapping occurs when a person forcibly confines or imprisons another against their will. In Massachusetts one can also be guilty of kidnapping by forcing another to leave the state itself. Usually, as shown in tv shows, when a person is kidnapped there is a demand for money, or a ransom to be paid, in order for the kidnapped person to be released. However, that is not an element of the crime. In other words, in Massachusetts one does not need to make any demand for money in order to be found guilty of kidnapping.
Many times during family disputes, one spouse packs up the children and drives to the grandparents house. Sometimes the grandparents live outside the state. In Massachusetts, young children are considered unable of consenting to such a forcible trip outside of the state. Therefore the spouse that forcibly removes the children from their home, and other parent, could be guilty of the crime of kidnapping. I know it sounds weird, that a parent can kidnap their own children, but it has happened a lot in Massachusetts. In reality this usually comes up when the parents are divorced, but it is important to know in case you and your spouse are having troubles and you take the children with you.
As mentioned earlier, most kidnappers use the person they kidnapped to extort money out of the victims loved ones. Extortion is very simple. Basically it is any form of communication (written,verbal) where it is conveyed that the kidnapper will hurt the person they kidnapped unless they receive a certain amount of money. Extortion in and of itself is a totally separate crime, one that will need to be dealt with in further detail in another post. Suffice it to say, if you kidnap someone and threaten to hurt them unless you get paid, you are committing 2 separate crimes (kidnapping and extortion).
In reality kidnapping is a straightforward crime and one that is very easy to understand as well as interesting. I hope this post was able to show you that.