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Former coach enters criminal defense to sexual crime charges

Sex crimes are contained in the statutory codes of each state. There may be variations in the names and elements of the offenses from state to state. An offense seen often in recent years, which is recognized in Colorado and elsewhere, is called a sex crime against a child by one in a position of trust. That particular statute attempts in part to close off a criminal defense that might be available when an adult under 21 is arrested for having improper contact with a minor over 16.

That provision also calls for enhanced punishment due to the violation of trust. In a recent Colorado case, authorities arrested a 21-year-old former high school football coach for allegedly having intimate contact with a 15-year-old girl. He allegedly had two meetings with her where groped her but did not have sexual intercourse. The girl purportedly stopped the relationship because the suspect wanted to go further. According to school authorities, the man's coaching job ended prior to these events.

He faces four sexual contact crimes, two of them dealing with a person in a position of trust. It is reported that if convicted of the most serious offense, he faces a mandatory eight to 24 years of imprisonment. The fact of consensual contact is of little value where the accused was in a position of trust. The adult must protect the innocence of those in his charge.

That same factor precludes mitigation for the suspect's own young age. It may be possible to assert that the wrongful contact here was hardly of a serious nature. The allegations of "groping" do not even elicit significant physical contact. The accused also complied with breaking the relationship off. Thus, a mandatory term of significant imprisonment or even any imprisonment would be excessively harsh.

The man's Colorado criminal defense counsel may decide to use the above mitigating factors and any others to attempt to obtain a plea agreement for probation and no imprisonment. Failing that, if the facts permit, there may be a useable defense that he was not in a position of trust at the time. It's unclear whether he was a teacher with the same high school or working somewhere else.

Source: The Gazette, "Colorado Springs high school coach charged in sex crimes", Lance Benzel, Dec. 31, 2013

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