A Denver mom is enraged because her two 12-year-old daughters were “ sexually assaulted “ at their school. She doesn't believe the school has disciplined the perpetrators enough. Before we join in on her anger, let's take a look at the situation. These kinds of stories are common throughout Adams, Douglas, and Jefferson County:
Were they Sexually Assaulted or is this an Overreaction?
According to news reports, the woman's two daughters were walking in the hallway at school, when two 11-year-old boys came up behind them and touched them on their butts. This happened three times. The school official called their mother and asked if they should contact law enforcement (the school official seems more concerned about keeping his job in this story), and the mother stated: “Of course, they've been sexually assaulted!” But, when the police questioned everyone involved, it was discovered that the boys were continuing a game of tag they all had been playing in the playground between classes. The police determined no sexual contact occurred, and sexual assault charges were not filed. Let's stop and think about this a moment: Were those two girls actually sexually assaulted? Colorado statute states that Unlawful Sexual Contact – C.R.S. 18-3-404, is charged when:“A person has sexual contact (which includes touching clothed private areas) with a person who has not given them permission.”
It is important to understand the term “sexual contact.” This is defined as the knowing touching of a victim's intimate parts, if the contact is for sexual gratification, abuse, or arousal. The police determined the contact was part of a game, and was not for the purpose of sexual gratification. In Colorado, police are over-eager and love to charge crimes such as Unlawful Sexual Contact – especially when it involves children. The fact the police didn't file charges is proof of the lack of evidence.[pullquote align=”center” textalign=”center” width=”60%”]Colorado police officers love to charge crimes – but they determined no sexual contact occurred.[/pullquote]
Overreactions Have Consequences
When people overreact in situations like this, it has consequences for many people.
Sex Offender Registration: Let's say the police did file charges against the two eleven-year-old boys. If they had been adjudicated for Unlawful Sexual Contact, they would be required to register as sex offenders and go through treatment. This is common throughout Arapahoe, Larimer, and El Paso County. According to records, there are over 300 teenage registered sex offenders in Colorado. The youngest on the list is 12 years old. Registered sex offenders are outcasts in society, and sex offender treatment is harsh and invasive. Why would you overreact to a childhood game and allow two young men's lives to be ruined?[pullquote align=”center” textalign=”center” width=”60%”]An overreaction could destroy the lives of children and belittle true victims of assault.[/pullquote]
Unfair for True Victims: It is always wise to step back from a situation. We aren't saying the boys should have been suspended (they were suspended from school for 2 days). They were probably out of line. But, overreacting to childhood games and normal childhood behavior is a slap in the face for real victims of sexual assault. The girls weren't harmed by the boy's behavior. They were probably embarrassed, but they weren't emotionally or physically damaged. When we throw terms like “sexual assault” around, we are belittling the victims of actual assault.Request a Free Consultation