Image Credit: Pixabay – Pezibear
Overly broad laws and definitions hurt good people in Denver, Arapahoe, and Jefferson County. Often, in an effort to protect children, District Attorneys and legislators end up hurting the kids they're trying to help. A perfect example is a recent article I read about a special education teacher who has been barred from being near children, and is on paid leave under suspicion of “inappropriate behavior.” The behavior in question is ridiculous – the teacher gave an autistic boy a hug when asked. Obviously, this man shouldn't be removed from the classroom – but overly broad laws and touchy DAs create the perfect atmosphere for good people to be hurt.
Is Hugging Illegal? Special Education Teacher Banned from Classroom
The special education teacher had worked at the school for 16 years before being put on paid leave. Officials have also barred him from being near children, and the police are investigating “repeated acts of inappropriate behavior,” and looking into whether or not there were other “victims.” All of this, because the teacher hugged an 8-year-old autistic boy who asked for a hug. The teacher spoke in his defense, saying he has been trained when working with special needs children, and when a:
“…student asks for a hug, you give a hug. I admit completely that I hugged him and let him sit in my lap when he said ‘sit.” I picked him up when he said ‘up.' This is a child that needs that physical contact.”
The child's mother fully supports the teacher's actions. So, why is this veteran teacher being treated as if he did something wrong? Government workers often make something out of nothing in order to create work to justify their existence. Sexual Assault on a Child by a Person in a Position of Trust is often charged throughout Colorado, in Adams, Douglas, and El Paso County. Let's look at the details of this sexual offense.
Sexual Assault on a Child – Position of Trust
Sexual Assault on a Child by a Person in a Position of Trust – C.R.S. 18-3-405.3, is charged whenever someone in a “position of trust,” such as a teacher, babysitter, parent, or coach has sexual contact with a child under the age of eighteen. Now, you might think this is a great law to have in place – after all, teachers shouldn't be having sexual contact with their students. But, you need to take a closer look at the definition of ‘sexual contact' so you can see just how broad this crime really is. ‘Sexual contact' is defined under statute C.R.S. 18-3-401 as:
“…the knowing touching of the victim's intimate parts…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.”
Again, this definition seems as if it is wise. But, when you look at the definition of ‘intimate parts,' you realize just how easy this crime is to commit. ‘Intimate parts' is defined as:
“…the external genitalia or the perineum or the anus or the buttocks or the pubes or the breast of any person.”
Put simply, you can be charged with Sexual Assault on a Child by a Person is a Position of Trust if you touch the clothed butt or chest of any person under the age of 18, and are in a position of authority. The District Attorney will need to prove the contact was for the purpose of sexual gratification, abuse, or arousal, but as you can see with the special education teacher's situation, it's not difficult for DAs to make stories up.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Position of Trust Charges
Unfortunately, there aren't enough treatment providers in the Department of Corrections.
Sexual Assault on a Child by a Person in a Position of Trust is a sex offense in Colorado, which is subject to indeterminate sentencing, sex offender registration, and sex offender treatment. If convicted of this crime, you would be sent to prison for an indeterminate amount of time – such as 4 years to life. Your release would be determined based on completion of sex offender treatment overseen by the Sex Offender Management Board. Unfortunately, there aren't enough treatment providers at the Department of Corrections, so you would likely spend years in prison. People often believe that teachers and other people in positions of authority who have been convicted of sex assault are terrible people. In fact, they could just be doing their job and have an angry child or parent report untruths to the police. People also make mistakes, but then are overcharged and made an example by District Attorneys. Regardless of your situation, if you have been accused of inappropriate behavior with a child and you are in a position of trust, you need to contact an aggressive criminal defense attorney to defend you in the courtroom. Don't stand alone – work with a hard-hitting lawyer at the O'Malley Law Office who fights to win.
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