2011 Connecticut Code
Title 53 Crimes
Chapter 939 Offenses Against the Person
Sec. 53-20. Cruelty to persons.

      Sec. 53-20. Cruelty to persons. (a)(1) Any person who intentionally tortures, torments or cruelly or unlawfully punishes another person or intentionally deprives another person of necessary food, clothing, shelter or proper physical care shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years or both.

      (2) Any person who, with criminal negligence, deprives another person of necessary food, clothing, shelter or proper physical care shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or both.

      (b) (1) Any person who, having the control and custody of any child under the age of nineteen years, in any capacity whatsoever, intentionally maltreats, tortures, overworks or cruelly or unlawfully punishes such child or intentionally deprives such child of necessary food, clothing or shelter shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years or both.

      (2) Any person who, having the control and custody of any child under the age of nineteen years, in any capacity whatsoever, with criminal negligence, deprives such child of necessary food, clothing or shelter shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or both.

      (1949 Rev., S. 8368; P.A. 05-72, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 05-72 designated existing provisions re cruelty to any person as Subsec. (a)(1) and amended said Subsec. to add "intentionally" as the mens rea for the offense of torturing, tormenting or cruelly or unlawfully punishing another person, replace "wilfully" with "intentionally" as the mens rea for the offense of depriving another person of necessary food, clothing, shelter or proper physical care, and increase the penalty for such intentional acts to a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 5 years or both, reenacted existing provisions re negligently depriving another person of necessary food, clothing, shelter or proper physical care and the penalty therefor as Subsec. (a)(2) and amended those provisions by replacing "negligently" with "with criminal negligence" as the mens rea for such offense, designated existing provisions re cruelty to a child as Subsec. (b)(1) and amended said Subsec. to make provisions applicable to a child under 19 years of age rather than under 16 years of age, add "intentionally" as the mens rea for the offense of maltreating, torturing, overworking or cruelly or unlawfully punishing a child, replace "wilfully" with "intentionally" as the mens rea for the offense of depriving a child of necessary food, clothing or shelter and increase the penalty for such intentional acts to a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 5 years or both, reenacted existing provisions re negligently depriving a child of necessary food, clothing or shelter and the penalty therefor as Subsec. (b)(2) and amended those provisions by making them applicable to a child under 19 years of age rather than under 16 years of age and replacing "negligently" with "with criminal negligence" as the mens rea for such offense.

      Formerly trial justice could take final jurisdiction of offense against section. 115 C. 600. The word "unlawfully" does not connote "inhuman or barbarous treatment", but should be construed within the rule of statutory construction that a general word, following a particular enumeration, is intended to apply only to matters of the same general character. 165 C. 288.

      Cited. 26 CS 316. Cited. 37 CS 664.

      Cited. 4 Conn. Cir. Ct. 571. Evidence that defendant, mother of premature twin babies, failed to obtain medical aid or other care for them was sufficient to support jury's verdict holding her guilty of crime of cruelty to persons upon death of one and severe illness of other child. 5 Conn. Cir. Ct. 698.

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