It's easy to be confused by all the different crimes reported in the news in Denver, Adams, and Jefferson County, and across Colorado. For example, what's the difference between Sexual Assault on a Child – C.R.S. 18-3-405, and Sexual Assault on a Child by a Person in a Position of Trust – C.R.S. 18-3-405.3? The definitions are very similar, but there is one specific difference – the element of “position of trust.” Let's dig deeper into the definitions of both these sex offenses to discover how they're different.
Important Definitions: Sexual Contact & Position of Trust
Before we look at these two crimes, we need to define two terms. The first is “sexual contact.”Sexual Contact: The “knowing touching of the victim's intimate parts” (genitalia, butt, or breast) “or of the actor's intimate parts by the victim, or the knowing touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the victim's or actor's intimate parts if that sexual contact is for the purposes of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.” Position of Trust: “Any person who is a parent or acting in the place of a parent…including a guardian…or a person who is charged with any duty or responsibility for the health, education, welfare, or supervision of a child, including foster care, child care, family care.”
This includes (but isn't limited to) teachers, doctors, babysitters, family members, etc. in Douglas, Arapahoe, and El Paso County. Let's keep these definitions in mind as we look at the two following crimes.
Sexual Assault on a Child
Sexual Assault on a Child is charged follows: A person who“Knowingly subjects another not his or her spouse to any sexual contact commits sexual assault on a child if the victim is less than fifteen years of age and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.”
Put simply – if a person is 4 years older than child who is under the age of fifteen, and if they have sexual contact (remember, this can simply be the touching of clothing covering a child's butt), they will be charged with Sexual Assault on a Child.
Sentence for SAOC
Sexual Assault on a Child is usually a class 4 felony. But, if threats or violence were used, or if the offense was one of many assaults (pattern of abuse), it is a class 3 felony.
Sexual Assault: Position of Trust
Sexual Assault on a Child by a person in a position of trust is charged as follows: A person 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.”
Put simply – if a person has sexual contact with a child under the age of 18, and they are in a position of trust (such as a teacher) they will be charged.
Sentence for SAOC: Position of TrustSexual Assault on a Child by One in a Position of Trust is a class 4 felony if the alleged victim is fifteen years or older, and the offense wasn't committed as a part of a pattern of abuse. It is a class 3 felony if the alleged victim was under the age of fifteen, or if it was committed as part of a pattern of abuse. It is also important to understand that it is subject to mandatory sentencing. If a person is convicted of class 3 felony Sex Assault on a Child, Position of Trust, they will be sentenced to prison.
Similarities Between Two Offenses
As you can see, there are similarities between these two offenses. There are a few other similarities regarding sentencing.
- Indeterminate Sentencing: Both of these crimes are subject to indeterminate sentencing. This means a person convicted of either can be sentenced to the Colorado Department of Corrections for an indeterminate amount of time. With a class 4 felony conviction for either offense, an indeterminate prison sentence is possible. With a class 3 conviction it is mandatory.
- Sex Offender Registration: Both these crimes require the defendant to register as a sex offender in the jurisdiction where they reside.
- Sex Offender Treatment: Both offenses require the defendant to undergo harsh sex offender treatment overseen by the Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB).
SAOC or Position of Trust: Why You Need a Lawyer
Both of these sex crimes are serious. If you are convicted of either, your life will be negatively affected. Don't give up hope if you have been contacted by the police. Instead, contact an aggressive criminal defense lawyer who knows how the criminal justice system works. The best sex crimes attorneys at our office work hard to get cases dismissed or acquitted. Don't stand alone in the courtroom – work with an attorney who fights to win.Request a Free Consultation