Being in a position of trust over a child may legally alter the nature of a sexual crime. In this article, we define the term “position of trust” and explain how it relates to sexual assault law.
To be in a position of trust is to be a parent or have a parent’s rights, duties, or responsibilities to a child, or a person charged with responsibility for the supervision, welfare, education, or health of a child. This category includes:
In Colorado, sexual assault of a child by a person in a position of trust is a Class IV felony, regardless of whether or not the alleged victim consented to the act. This includes touching or fondling of the breast(s), buttocks, or genital area for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.
Sexual assault of a minor by a person in a position of trust does not have to involve penetration or intrusion. It is considered sexual assault if the person in a position of trust touches the minor or causes the minor to touch them. This crime can occur even without harsh physical force and even if both parties are clothed, as long as the purpose of the contact is sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.
If the minor is between 15 and 17 years old, the penalties for sexual assault by a person in a position of trust are:
If the minor is under 15 years old or the offense was part of a pattern of sexual abuse, the crime increases to a Class III penalty and is punishable by:
If there is a pattern of abuse, there is no statute of limitations on the offense.
If the offense includes aggravating factors such as bodily injury, threat, intimidation, or force, the crime is considered to be violent, and the minimum mandatory sentence is:
Failing to register in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s sex offender registry carries a penalty of
If you have been accused of sexual assault of a minor as a person in a position of trust, it is recommended that you hire an experienced sexual assault lawyer who will be able to help defend you in court.