Colorado Sex Crime Attorney Blog

Sexual Assault by a Psychotherapist Lawyer

Posted by Kyle B. Sawyer | Feb 04, 2019 | 0 Comments

Sex crimes come in many different forms in our changing world. There is additional weight to offenses that involve trusted adults and those who hold licenses to practice in certain areas. Sexual Assault on a Client by a Psychotherapist is a crime charged when psychiatrists, psychologists, or other mental health professionals have sexual contact with a client. Depending on the sexual contact that occurs, it can be a misdemeanor or felony in Colorado. These situations can have grave consequences so it is essential to speak with a skilled sexual assault by a psychotherapist lawyer as soon as possible.

Does Consent Matter in Counseling Relationships?

In short, no. Even if consent exists in a sexual relationship between a victim (client) and a psychotherapist (actor), the behavior is unlawful and the actor's responsibility. In cases where the client gives consent to sexual contact, sexual intrusion, or sexual penetration, the consent itself is not a defense for the actor in any way. This is mostly due to the thought that a client might consent to sexual contact of some sort, thinking it is part of their treatment or therapy. C.R.S. 18-3-405.5 refers to this as therapeutic deception. Because there are so many emotions with therapy, psychotherapists walk a fine line with their clients. Professionals can quickly find themselves trying to meet the needs of their clients outside of the office sessions. Hiring an experienced sexual assault by a psychotherapist lawyer is important in these situations.

Felony Sexual Assault on a Client by a Psychotherapist | Colorado Defense Attorney

When a psychotherapist participates in sexual penetration or sexual intrusion with a client in Colorado, they might face something as severe as Aggravated Sexual Assault on a Client. This crime is a class 4 felony in Colorado. A difficult gray area exists in this charge as the law does not define how long a person is considered a client after therapy or treatment has concluded. Sometimes a client develops intense feelings for their psychotherapist over the course of therapy. Also, there is no reference to the importance of how long the client saw the therapist. Was it a year, or one session for advice or help?

Misdemeanor Sexual Assault on a Client by a Psychotherapist | Colorado Lawyer

A misdemeanor charge applies when a psychotherapist participates in sexual contact with a client that does not include penetration or intrusion. Sexual contact here includes the following key elements:

  • knowingly touching intimate parts by the actor
  • the actor's intimate parts touched by the victim
  • knowingly touching the clothing covering the immediate area of the victim's or actor's intimate parts

Another factor here is there must be proof that the sexual contact was done for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.

Why Hire a Sexual Assault by a Psychotherapist Lawyer?

The following 4 elements of sentencing for sex crimes in Colorado are why an expert criminal defense attorney is essential:

1. Jail or Prison Time with Possible Indeterminate Sentencing

2. Sex Offender Intensive Supervised Probation (SOISP)

3. Sex Offender Treatment

4. Sex Offender Registration

If you or someone you know is facing sex crime charges in Colorado, act now. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sawyer Legal Group at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future.

Photo Credit: Unsplash – rawpixel

About the Author

Kyle B. Sawyer

I have a passion for defending others in criminal cases. I am able to empathize with my clients and understand their emotions and fears. I have a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and I understand what it feels like to be wrongly accused of a crime.


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