Colorado Sex Crime Attorney Blog

Sexual Assault and Mental Health Professionals | CRS 18-3-405.5

Posted by Kyle B. Sawyer | Nov 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

In Colorado, if any sexual contact between mental health professionals and their client occurs, the psychotherapist can face humiliating ramifications. Charged as sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist, even consensual sexual behavior between adults in these situations is unlawful. This is due to the role a mental health professional serves in a client's life. Fondling or sex is seen as especially manipulative on the part of the psychotherapist and is punished harshly. If you or someone you know is facing these charges, exercise your right to remain silent and contact an experienced sex crimes attorney immediately.

Psychologist Sexual Assault Law in Denver

Denver's sexual assault laws prohibit any sexual contact between psychologists and their clients. CRS 18-3-405.5 defines the specific acts of psychologist sex assault throughout Colorado. You commit this sex offense in Denver, Aurora, or Lakewood if you are a licensed, practicing mental health professional and you:

  • touch a patient's genitals, butt, or breast(s),
  • have a patient touch your intimate parts,
  • or engage in intercourse, oral / anal sex, or intrusion with fingers or a foreign object with a patient

It is important to note that Colorado's laws state a client of a psychotherapist can't give consent to any sexual contact with their therapist. While this relationship may grow over the period of therapy, if this line is crossed the psychologist can be sent to prison, lose their professional license, and have to register as a sex offender.

Penalties for Sexual Assault on a Client in Colorado

Each sexual assault on a client case is different. Therefore, the penalties for a conviction aren't always the same. If the behavior stops at touching, groping, or fondling, the charge is often a class 1 misdemeanor. Consequences in these cases can include:

However, if oral, anal, or vaginal sex occur or there is any intrusion with a foreign object, a class 4 felony applies. Penalties in this situation increase to:

  • a minimum prison sentence of 2 years (possibility of being indeterminate)
  • fines of $2,000 – $500,000,
  • sex offender registration

Even allegations of this nature against mental health professionals can permanently destroy their careers. Penalties for a conviction can combine to be insurmountable, which stresses the need for a strategic criminal lawyer.

Lawyer for Mental Health Professionals Accused of Sexual Assault on a Client

Our criminal defense attorneys understand the magnitude of any sexual assault allegation. Those in the mental health field face even more scrutiny if a patient makes these claims. However, just because you've been charged or are under investigation doesn't mean you're guilty. Perhaps the alleged sexual contact never happened, the touching was accidental, or the victim wasn't a patient when the sex occurred. Nevertheless, contact our office for a free, confidential consultation. We offer same-day jail visits, affordable fees, and flexible payment plans for those facing sex assault accusations throughout Denver, Jefferson, and Arapahoe County.

Don't talk to the police about sexual assault on a client – talk to us. Sawyer Legal Group, LLC 303-830-0880

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

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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