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It seems that more and more often, there are news stories about a teacher having a sexual relationship with a student, which is charged as Sexual Assault on a Child by One in a Position of Trust in Denver and Castle Rock. I recently read a story where a 26-year-old female teacher had a relationship with an 18-year-old male student, which led to her arrest and felony criminal charges. However, what struck me about the story was the ages of the two involved. While most likely her actions would get her fired, I do not believe that this situation would have resulted in criminal charges if it had occurred in Denver, Arapahoe or Douglas, County. Let's take a closer look at the statute to see why.
Sexual Assault on a Child Lawyer: Definition of Sexual Assault on a Child by One in a Position of Trust
In Colorado, a child is defined as a person under the age of eighteen. So, the student was not a child. Therefore, Sexual Assault on a Child by One in a Position of Trust – C.R.S. 18-3-405.3 – would not apply:
Any actor who knowingly subjects another not his or her spouse to any sexual contact commits sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust if the victim is a child less than eighteen years of age and the actor committing the offense is one in a position of trust with respect to the victim.
The age of the student means he would not be considered a child and therefore the Sexual Assault on a Child charge would not apply.
Does Sexual Assault Apply to this Teacher and 18 Year Old Student Relationship in Adams or Jefferson County?
There is a position of authority subsection in the Sexual Assault statute – C.R.S. 18-3-402, but it only applies if the victim is in the custody of the law or detained in a hospital – neither of which applies in the above situation. The fact is, at 18, the student is an adult and therefore can consent to a sexual relationship. If he had reported the teacher used force or caused submission against his will – that would be another story. But based on the information provided, this would not be a Sexual Assault if it had occurred in Adams or Jefferson County.