Psychotherapist sex assault occurs in Arapahoe County, Colorado when a mental health professional has sexual contact with a client. Consent is irrelevant in these situations as psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and counselors are forbidden by law to participate in any sexual behavior with their patient. This sex crime comes with serious criminal penalties and can result in the loss of the defendant's professional license. Any accusation of sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist requires consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
Colorado's Psychotherapist Sex Assault Laws
Sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist is addressed in CRS 18-3-405.5. This sex crime occurs in Aurora, Englewood, or Centennial when:
- a mental health professional (psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, or counselor),
- participates in any sexual contact, sexual intrusion, or sexual penetration,
- with a client
Colorado's laws see the relationship between therapist and patient as one of “distinctive dependency.” Essentially a psychologist who participates in sexual acts with a patient is seen as taking advantage of the client and that unique relationship. When lines are blurred in these circumstances, the licensed professional is responsible regardless of who initiated the contact or came on to the other person.
What are the Penalties for Psychotherapist Sexual Assault in Colorado?
When psychotherapist sex assault only involves sexual contact (groping or fondling), a class 1 misdemeanor applies. Conviction can result in:
- 6 – 18 months in county jail,
- fines of up to $5,000
Sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist becomes aggravated when the sexual acts go beyond touching. Intercourse or oral sex with a client is a class 4 felony and can lead to:
- an indeterminate prison sentence (2 year minimum),
- $2,000 – $500,000 in fines
Additionally, conviction of psychotherapist sex assault results in the requirement to register as a sex offender. A significant amount of personal information and offense details are made available to the public, usually resulting in community paranoia and especially harsh assumptions about your character. Mental health professionals often also lose their license to practice as well.
Aurora Sex Crimes Attorney
An accusation of sexual assault on a client can be particularly overwhelming for any mental health professional. It is essential that you exercise your right to remain silent if contacted by police or investigators. Providing statements will only hurt your defense. Perhaps no sexual acts occurred, the contact was accidental, or the victim wasn't a client at that time. Nevertheless, contact our office for a free initial consultation. Our skilled sex crime lawyers will carefully analyze your unique case and recommend next steps, all while prioritizing the best possible outcome.
So, if you or someone you know is facing an accusation of sexual assault as a mental health professional in Colorado, be smart. Contact the strategic defense attorneys at Sawyer Legal Group at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future.
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