Being a position of trust in Colorado comes with great risk. Anyone who is responsible for a young person's health, welfare, education, or supervision at any time has strict parameters as to their conduct around juveniles. While this is generally a given with young children, the same laws are in place to “protect” minors in their later years of high school. This means coaches, teachers, pastors, and even a next door neighbor can face lifelong criminal consequences if any sexual behavior transpires between a teenager under 18 and someone in a position of trust. Any accusation or charge of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust requires immediate representation from an especially experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Colorado's Position of Trust Laws
C.R.S. 18-3-405.3 defines the specific details of sexual assault on a child – position of trust in Colorado. Someone commits this serious sex offense in Denver, Lakewood, or Aurora if they:
- knowingly engage in sexual contact with a minor under 18,
- AND are in any way responsible for that minor's health, welfare, education, or supervision
It is important to note that consent in these situations is irrelevant. It is sexual assault on a child whether the teenager said yes or no, or even if they made the advance themselves. Colorado's laws say a 17-year-old is unable to consent to any sexual contact with their coach, teacher, or pastor. So the law is telling teenagers what they can and can't do with their bodies? In short, yes.
Furthermore, Colorado lawmakers are trying to expand these laws to apply to adult students (18 and older) who are still enrolled in high school. Now the question becomes, is an 18-year-old not an adult if they're still in high school? This new push in Colorado suggests that some magic occurs the moment teenagers walk across the stage at graduation. Do they at this moment suddenly understand consent?
Consequences for Sexual Assault on a Child as a Position of Trust
Many factors impact the punishment for conviction of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust in Colorado. The victim's age at the time of the incident(s) and whether the relationship was ongoing (pattern of abuse) are often in consideration.
When the victim is 15, 16, or 17 years of age and the sexual contact occurred once, a class 4 felony applies. Penalties for the adult in the position of trust can include:
- 2 – 6 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections,
- fines of $2,000 – $500,000
However, when the victim is under the age of 15 or the sexual contact was continual as part of an ongoing relationship, a class 3 felony applies. Consequences in these scenarios can be:
- up to 12 years in prison,
- fines of up to $750,000
Additionally, a conviction of SAOC – Position of Trust requires sex offender registration, years of intensive supervised probation after incarceration, and costly treatment / evaluation.
Colorado Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
The umbrella of position of trust applies to many adults in the state of Colorado. When a sex crime allegation comes about, it is paramount that these men and women contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Investigators and law enforcement are often meticulous in these cases. It is essential that anyone facing an accusation of SAOC take the following steps:
- exercise your right to remain silent by not providing police with statements of any kind,
- avoid talking about the situation with others (especially by text, email, or social media),
- contact our office for a free initial consultation
Perhaps the alleged touching in your case was accidental, the situation is being embellished, or false claims exists. Nevertheless, the skilled sex crimes attorneys at Sawyer Legal Group, LLC are prepared to fight the charges against you in court.
So, if you or someone you know is facing sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, be smart. Contact the skilled defense attorneys at Sawyer Legal Group, LLC at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future.
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