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In Colorado, when an employee or volunteer in a correctional institution engages in sexual conduct with an inmate, they are committing unlawful sexual conduct in a correctional institution. This offense may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the defendant’s position and the type of sexual conduct. Sexual conduct in a correctional institution also results in designation as a sex offender. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
When an employee or volunteer in a correctional institution engages in sexual conduct with an inmate, they are committing unlawful sexual conduct in a correctional institution.
1. What is sexual conduct in a correctional institution?
“An employee, contract employee, or volunteer of a correctional institution or an individual who performs work or volunteer functions in a correctional institution who engages in sexual conduct with a person who is in lawful custody in a correctional institution commits the offense of sexual conduct in a correctional institution.”1
A correctional institution means any government facility in which persons may be held lawfully in custody as a result of conviction of a crime. This includes correctional facilities operated under contract with the department of corrections, private contract prisons, jails, juvenile detention facilities, or community corrections program facilities.2
Sexual conduct in a correctional institution involves workers or volunteers who commit sexual acts on inmates. This includes sexual conduct committed for sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse. It does not matter whether the inmate consented to sexual activity, it is still against the law for employees, contract employees, or volunteers to engage in sexual activity with an inmate.
2. What types of sexual conduct are included?
Sexual conduct includes sexual contact, intrusion, or penetration.3
Under C.R.S. 18-3-401, sexual contact includes touching a person’s intimate parts or the clothing covering the immediate area of a person’s intimate parts for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse. Intimate parts include the external genitalia, perineum, anus, buttocks, pubic region, or breasts of any person.
Sexual penetration includes sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, analingus, or anal intercourse. Penetration does not require ejaculation or any emission to be shown as an element of sexual penetration. Any penetration, however slight or however short the duration, is sufficient to be considered sexual penetration. All other intrusions by an object or part of the body for sexual arousal or gratification is a sexual intrusion.
This crime is charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
3. What are the penalties for sexual conduct in a correctional institution?
Sexual conduct in a correctional institution can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. Sexual conduct in a correctional institute is a class 5 felony if it includes sexual intrusion or penetration and is committed by an employee or contract employee. The penalties for a class 5 felony conviction for sexual conduct in a correctional institution include 12 to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. There is also a mandatory parole period of 2 years.4
Sexual conduct in a correctional institution is a class 6 felony if it only consisted of sexual conduct and there was no sexual intrusion or penetration by an employee. It is also a class 6 felony if it involves sexual intrusion or penetration committed by a volunteer. The penalties for a class 6 felony conviction for sexual conduct in a correctional institution include 12 to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. There is also mandatory parole for 1 year.5
If a volunteer commits sexual conduct without sexual intrusion or penetration, it is a class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties for misdemeanor sexual conduct in a correctional institution include up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.6
4. Do I have to register as a sex offender for sexual conduct in a correctional institution?
A conviction for sexual conduct in a correctional institution leads to designation as a sex offender, and your name will be entered into the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s sex offender registry.7
As a sex offender, the individual has to register with the local chief of police or county sheriff in any jurisdiction where they reside. Sex offender registration includes providing the sex offender’s name, date of birth, address, place of employment, fingerprints, a photograph, email addresses, and instant messaging or chat room identities. The sex offender will also have to re-register annually, every year within 5 days of their birthday. Sex offenders also have to register any time they change address or begin working at an institution of higher education.
Failure to register as a sex offender or knowingly providing false information is a crime in Colorado. Penalties for failure to register as a sex offender depend on whether the individual was convicted of a misdemeanor or felony sex crime. Failure to register as a sex offender for a misdemeanor sex crime is a class 1 misdemeanor. Failure to register for a felony sex crime is a class 6 felony.8
5. Related Offenses
5.1. Invasion of Privacy for Sexual Gratification C.R.S. 18-3-405.6
Taking intimate photos of people without their consent for sexual gratification can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the defendant’s criminal history and the age of the victim. It is also an extraordinary risk crime. A conviction for invasion of privacy for sexual gratification may result in up to 2 years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, and classification as a sex offender.
5.2. Indecent Exposure C.R.S. 18-7-302
Exposing your genitals to another person is considered indecent exposure and a violation of Colorado law. Masturbating in public is also considered indecent exposure. Indecent exposure is a class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado and can result in up to 364 days in custody and/or a $1,000 fine. A conviction for indecent exposure will also require you to register as a sex offender.
5.3. Public Indecency C.R.S. 18-7-302
Exposing your intimate body parts, having sex in public, or exposing your genitals to offend another person is a violation of Colorado’s public indecency statute. Public indecency is a petty offense. A conviction for public indecency could result in up to 10 days in jail and/or up to $300 in fines..
5.4. Lewd Conduct C.R.S. 18-7-301
Lewd conduct involves exposing your genitals, having sex in public or masturbating in public, or fondling another person is a violation of Colorado’s public indecency and indecent exposure laws. The penalties for lewd conduct depend on whether the conduct is charged as public indecency or indecent exposure.
5.5. Criminal Trespass C.R.S. 18-4-502
You commit Colorado criminal trespass when you unlawfully enter or remain on someone else’s property. Trespass can be in the first, second or third degree, depending on the type of property involved, and your reason for entering or remaining on the property. Penalties for criminal trespass in Colorado range from as little as a fine and probation to as much as three years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Call us for help…
Call us for help
If you or a loved one is accused of committing sexual conduct in a correctional institution, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group.
C.R.S. 18-7-701(5). Prior to March 1, 2022, class 1 misdemeanors carried 6 to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. SB21-271.