Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would speed up analysis of untested rape kits in Colorado and other states, according to a recent article in the Coloradoan. The bill, which was passed as part of the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), was sponsored by Colorado Senator Michael Bennett. It expands grant funds given to state and local law enforcement offices for the processing of rape kits.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation currently has a backlog of 250 untested rape kits, according to the agency. On average, a rape kit submitted to the Colorado Bureau of investigation waits six months between its arrival and its analysis. Currently, about 400,000 rape kits nationwide are still waiting testing.
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In 2003, the Air Force Academy outside Colorado Springs, Colorado faced an investigation after a Colorado sexual assault case that led to the Academy changing its policies and keeping much closer tabs on information related to sexual harassment and assault. After several years of relatively stable numbers of reports, the number of sexual harassment and assault reports at the Academy has suddenly jumped and administrators at the Air Force Academy aren’t sure why.

The Air Force Academy recorded 10 sexual assault cases in the 2005-2006 school year, when it first began keeping track. The numbers dipped to eight in 2008-2009, then rose to 30 in 2010-2011.

The Academy’s administration, however, is not sure whether the increase in numbers actually reflects an increase in sexual assaults on the campus, or is merely evidence that more cadets are willing to report potentially dangerous or questionable incidents when they happen. Nearly 3,200 sexual assaults were recorded military-wide in the same time period, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, but record keepers suspect that number is unnaturally low because not everyone involved in a potential sexual assault in the military reports the incident to authorities.
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Like many U.S. states, Colorado has a “sex offender registry” that includes the name and personal information of Colorado residents who have been convicted of certain types of sex-related crimes. Understanding the sex offender registry requirements is key to knowing what it means to be included in it.

The Sex Offender Registration Act requires a person to be included in the registry if he or she is convicted of:

  • Enticement of a child;
  • An unlawful sexual offense;
  • Unlawful sexual behavior; or
  • Being a sexually violent predator.

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In 1998, Colorado’s state legislature passed the Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act. This law allows courts to sentence certain people convicted of sex-related crimes in Colorado to a lifetime of treatment and supervision. The law’s main points cover sentencing, treatment, and supervision of certain people after they have received a criminal conviction for a sex-related offense.

First, the law allows courts to give an “indeterminate sentence” to a person convicted of any one or more of a long list of sex offenses. An indeterminate sentence does not set a specific amount of time the person convicted must serve. Instead, it sets a minimum amount of time, but allows the courts to keep the convicted person in prison for longer than the minimum (in some cases, up to the rest of that person’s natural life) if incarceration is deemed necessary for other people’s safety or for treatment.
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A four month investigation ensued after Colorado Springs police were called to look into a possible sexual assault at the end of 2010. According to KKTV.com, the investigation led to the arrest of an adult church volunteer that had been allegedly engaging in improper sexual conduct with a female minor, and possibly others. He is being charged with “Sexual Assault on a Child by One in a Position of Trust,” which is a felony crime in Colorado.

According to Colorado sexual offense statute 18-3-405.3, “Any actor who knowingly subjects another not his or her spouse to any sexual contact commits sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust if the victim is a child less than eighteen years of age and the actor committing the offense is one in a position of trust with respect to the victim.”
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According to State Bill Colorado, a new bill introduced to the Colorado legislature proposes changes to the laws about where sex offenders who fail to register as an offender are tried and imprisoned for the offense.

Under current Colorado law, a sex offender who fails to register in their place of residence after being freed from imprisonment is sent back to the location where they served their sentence for trial and potential additional jail time. The new bill, SB11-007, repeals the option for the place of trial, and proposes that the offender may be tried in the county in which they live or in the county in which they are apprehended.
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The Colorado Supreme Court recently ruled that Colorado Springs police should have warned a child pornography suspect that he had the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney before they questioned him according to an article in The Gazette.

In the case of People v. Holt, the court stated that Holt should have been read his Miranda rights before police questioned him. In Holt’s case, the police arrived at his home one night and entered the house with their guns drawn. They removed Holt from the home, handcuffed him, and placed him in the back of a patrol car, where they interrogated him for about 25 minutes until Holt admitted his computer contained images of child pornography.

During Holt’s trial, the trial judge ruled that Holt’s statements in the back of the police cruiser were inadmissible because the police officers’ failure to read Holt his rights violated Holt’s Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. In the landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that criminal suspects have a right to remain silent and to consult an attorney if they are in the custody of law enforcement and are being interrogated.
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Twenty-five students from Skyview Middle School in Colorado Springs have been suspended after being caught “sexting.” The 6th grade students were allegedly forwarding a picture of a naked 12-year-old girl on their cell phones. Under Colorado law, the students could be facing a felony charge for the incident. The El Paso County District Attorney received the case for review on Wednesday afternoon. He stated that in cases like this one, mandatory education and counseling is the best first step for the students.

A parent of one of the suspended students believes that Skyview may have mishandled the situation. It is questionable as to why the students were suspended from school as the text was sent after school hours. In addition, the school’s resource officer threatened the students and told them that the incident will ruin their lives, preventing them from getting a good job later in life. School officials also interrogated the students and confiscated their cell phones without alerting parents.
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An almost 10-year-old sexual assault case has resurfaced after an Arapahoe County District Court Judge agreed to assign a special prosecutor to file charges against the accused. According to an aurorasentinel.com article, the incident in question occurred at a high school graduation party in 2000. Allegedly, a young woman claims that two of her classmates had intercourse with her without consent being given. Reportedly, the young woman had been drinking the night of the alleged incident. There was no mention of whether or not the two men accused of the act were also consuming alcohol the night of the party.

Initially, the woman did not want to testify against the young men, rendering prosecutors unable to file criminal charges against the men. However, after one of the two men was investigated for his connection to an alleged Colorado University incident of rape in 2004, the woman asked the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office to reconsider filing charges in her case. The D.A.’s office declined to reconsider, citing the long amount of time that had passed since the incident as to why charges would not be pursued. The woman again sought filing charges in 2007, and, after an initial refusal to do so, was granted her request.
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The social stigma associated with being convicted of a sex crime can greatly impact an individual for the rest of his or her life. According to a coloradoan.com story, a 31-year-old man that was previously convicted of second-degree sexual assault and served the majority of a seven year prison sentence has decided to move. As consequence of this, local law enforcement has called a mandatory meeting of the Fort Collins community to inform the public of the individual’s new whereabouts. The mandatory meeting is required by law whenever a sexually violent predator moves into a new neighborhood, or simply moves from one house to another in the same neighborhood. Specifically, the meeting will “provide notification of [the] offender and generally enhance public safety and protection, [and] be presented by a team of professionals involved in the management of sex offenders in the community.”

Even though the 31-year-old is subject to neither parole or probation supervision, he is still considered a threat by his community. Such a label can certainly impact his ability to find suitable housing, gainful employment, and can place stress on any new relationships he may form, not to mention the strain that has already been placed on his current friends and family. While avoiding such a stigma can be difficult, such avoidance is not impossible. By retaining the services of a skilled Colorado Springs sex crimes attorney, an accused individual may be able to lead a normal life again, even after charges have been brought against them.
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