Colorado Sex Assault Laws: Does One Size Fit All?

One size fits all?

If you take a look at the long list of various Colorado sex assault sex offense laws (available here), you’ll see that they range from high-level misdemeanors all the way up to high-level felonies — sentences range from a mere 6 months up to 24 years. But what you might easily miss is that only a few of the various sexual crimes don’t come with a permanent attachment to the SOLSA — the Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act.

In fact, the only sex crimes that don’t include a lifetime of supervision are:

  • Sexual assault of a 15-17-year-old by a person 10 or more years older than the victim,
  • Observing or recording another person’s sexual organs without their consent,
  • Sexual contact without proper consent,
  • Sexual crimes occurring in jail,
  • Providing children with sexual materials,
  • Sexual crimes involving pimping, pandering, or prostitution (and not children), and
  • Sexual crimes against special at-risk victims.

Any other sexual crime puts you in the SOLSA camp. Which, if you have no idea what “lifetime supervision” consists of, doesn’t sound that bad. But then, you hear the horror stories. These “supervisors” consider it their personal job to make sure that anyone and everyone on their list is restricted from access to children — at all.

  • A 62-year-old truck driver was forbidden from visiting his grandchildren, and equally forbidden from discussing his grandchildren with his adult children (the grandchildren’s parents, aunts, and uncles.) His wife was forced to take down all of the pictures of her grandchildren from the home — or have her husband move out forever.
  • Another man had his collection of vintage stuffed animals taken away because they could be used to ‘lure children.’
  • Another was told he wasn’t allowed to visit public libraries, parks, or other common places that one might come across schoolchildren — ever.

…and exactly none of these people had committed crimes related to children. But because they were sex offenders, and because according to the dictates of the SOLSA ‘supervisors’ all sex offenders are created equal, their lives were torn apart in the extreme — even more so than ‘merely’ being on the sex offender registry and having a criminal record.

The real irony of it all is that this can — and does — happen to children, too. Once you’re under supervision, you’re under supervision for life. An innocent childhood text of her sister rocking a new swimsuit that shows a little too much side-boob, and your daughter could end up literally unable to attend school for fear she might turn out to be a rampant child molester who just hadn’t gotten the chance to show her true nature.