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Laws regarding statutory rape in Colorado

Statutory rape charges in Colorado may be filed under the following three scenarios:

1. A person knowingly imposes sexual penetration or intrusion on a victim who is under 15 years of age, and the perpetrator is at least four years older than the victim, and is not his or her spouse.

2. A person knowingly imposes sexual penetration or intrusion on a victim who is at least 15 years old, but under 17, and the perpetrator is at least 10 years his or her senior and not his or her spouse.

3. A person knowingly subjects a victim under 15 years of age to sexual contact when the perpetrator is at least four years older, and the victim is not his or her spouse. This may also be classified as sexual assault on a child.

The difference between scenario 1 and 2 above has to do with the type of behavior defined by sexual contact, sexual intrusion and sexual penetration:

Sexual contact is knowingly touching the victim's private parts or having the victim touch the perpetrator's private parts. It also includes touching intimate parts through clothing for purposes of sexual gratification or arousal.

Sexual penetration includes any type of penetration -- sexual intercourse, anal intercourse or oral sex. Emission does not need to be proven.

Sexual intrusion is putting any object or part of a person's body, excluding the mouth, tongue or penis, into the victim's vagina or anal opening for sexual gratification or arousal.

When a victim is less than 15 years of age and the perpetrator at least four years older, and the charges end in a conviction, it can mean anywhere from two to four years of jail or prison time, a year of parole and possible fines up to $5,000. If the victim is 15 to 17 years of age, it can mean six months to two years' incarceration and fines up to $5,000.

There are times when the scenarios above, or the appearance of the scenarios above, may not be the full story. Circumstances are not always what they seem. Before letting charges of statutory rape or sexual assault of a child ruin your life, you have a right to be defended and have your story told. Many innocent people have been classified unfairly as sex offenders because they were unable to defend accusations brought against them.

Source: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, "Colorado," accessed Jan. 19, 2016

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