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Judge: ‘Cup checks’ by former Colorado teacher were assaults

What may be acceptable behavior in the eyes and minds of some people is offensive to others. For defendants, perceptions don't matter as much as whether the behavior crosses a legal line. A former Colorado high school teacher recently learned touching students can result in the ruination of a career.

The ex-Widefield High School teacher and coach was accused of striking male students between the legs, apparently as a form of "cup check." El Paso County authorities received a tip about the activity in 2013 and conducted an investigation with school resource officers. Several male students apparently were touched inappropriately.

A sentencing judge stated the defendant's actions were beyond "horseplay" and were not as harmful physically as they were psychologically. The former German instructor was charged with child sexual assault, convicted last summer and sentenced to an eight-years-to-life prison term. The defendant's name will be included in the sex offender registry.

The Gazette reported school officials were shocked when the popular teacher was arrested, including a female instructor offered support to her former colleague in court. The German teacher joined the Widefield High staff in 2009, after clearing a criminal background check. The man's criminal defense attorney unsuccessfully sought to have a retrial, on the assertion prosecutors lacked solid proof of a sex crime.

Under Colorado laws, unlawful sexual contact includes touching intimate parts or clothing covering intimate parts for sexual gratification or abusive purposes. Child sexual assault, in part, is defined as a pattern of sexual abuse and, therefore, assault when the unlawful contact is repeated at least twice. Sexual assault on a child is a class 3 felony when a victim is younger than 15 and a class 4 felony when a child is between 15 and 18.

A criminal defense attorney can explain further the legal difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching and how that definition may affect your case.

Source: KKTV, "Former Teacher Sentenced For Sex Assault On A Child" Nov. 11, 2014

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