By Bob Katzen
ENCOURAGING SUICIDE Bill (S 1032) Imposes up to a 5-year prison sentence on a person who encourages another person to commit suicide.
The bill, called “Conrad’s Law,” is named after then- 18-year-old Conrad Roy III who, in 2014, killed himself after being pressured by then- 17-year-old Michelle Carter via a phone call following thousands of texts. Carter was convicted of manslaughter and served 12 months of a 15-month prison sentence.
Other actions that will result in a prison sentence include intentionally coercing or encouraging the person to commit or attempt to commit suicide; intentionally providing the physical means, or knowledge of such means, to the other person for the purpose of enabling that other person to commit or attempt to commit suicide and, as a result, the other person commits or attempts to commit suicide; participating in a physical act which causes, aids, encourages or assists the other person in committing or attempting to commit suicide.
“Right now, Massachusetts is one of only eight states without a law criminalizing coerced suicide,” said sponsor Sen. Barry Finegold (D-Andover). “That needs to change. Cyberbullying and teen suicide rates have spiked dramatically in the past decade, and the pandemic has made it all the more important to focus on youth suicide prevention. Medical experts are deeply concerned about the pandemic’s long-term effects on the mental health of young people.”