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Colorado could outlaw sexual contact between educators and 18-year-old students

DENVER (KRDO) -- For the second time in two years, a new bill introduced to the Colorado State Senate on Tuesday would make it illegal for a state educator to make sexual contact with an 18-year old secondary student.

Under the current Colorado State Law, a high school teacher who makes sexual contact with an 18-year-old student may not have committed a crime.

According to SB21-017: "The bill provides that an educator who subjects a secondary school student who is at least 18 years of age to sexual contact commits the crime of abuse of public trust by an educator, if the educator is at least four years older than the student."

'Abuse of Public Trust by an Educator' is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Consent from the student would not nullify the charge.

According to the fist draft of the bill, the law would be implemented on September 1st, 2021 so long as the bill is approved by the state legislature and Governor Jared Polis. The bill was sent to the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee for review.

SB21-017 is sponsored by Republican State Senator Dennis Hisey. Hisey introduced a similar bill in 2020, Senate Bill 20-059. That previous version of the bill would have made the crime a class 3 or class 4 felony, depending on if it was a pattern. That bill was indefinitely postponed in May as the legislature shifted focus amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Dan Beedie

Dan is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about Dan here.



  1. Ok, how about this? As long as the student is classified as a “student”, then hands off! This could extend into college level as well. There is plenty of manipulation at that level too.

    1. Why not 51?
      If you are not an adult at 18 why do they want to let 16 year old vote?

  2. So as an adult, 18, they can make all their life choices, BUT choosing to imbibe in alcoholic beverages and ingest or inhale Marijuana.
    Now the State wants to create a law where 2 consenting adults cannot make their own lawful decision to engage in sexual activities.
    What is the data that the state has to provide to show that this is a problem that needs them to create a new law to restrict what more 2 consenting adults can do?
    How does unlawful sexual contact or sexual assault not already address this problem?
    If the modifier of “in a position of trust” needs to be revamped to incorporate how a teacher is in a position of trust over their pupil then that makes sense.
    Make it read like most nepotism policies. Ergo, if one over 18 year old student and one over 18 year old teacher choose to engage in a relationship then, that teacher cannot have any supervisory decisions involving that student.
    But painting with broad strokes to create blanket policies that infringe on what 2 adults can or cannot do in a in a consensual relationship is blatantly wrong.
    This is an unnecessary law and is already covered by already existing laws.
    Why does this Republican State Senator keep attempting to get this law passed?

    1. And as Skippy pointed out, if you fix the verbiage of the modifier “In a position of Trust” This could be incorporated to Colleges too, if this is really even a problem.

    2. Oh another question, who would be the victim of a consensual relationship between legal adults if this law passed. Furthermore, if the “victim” failed to prosecute because they were consenting adults what would the state do then? subsection (3) of this proposed bill actually takes the victim’s rights away by stating that a legal adult cannot give consent.

  3. Yes, curious that the gov won’t let you drink or smoke untill your 21, but youre apparently adult enough to have legal sex, vote, abort babies, join the military and go to battle at 18. Your adult enough to drive a car at 16. The gov is pushing age 16 to VOTE, yet young people are so helpless, parents have to keep them on their insurance until age 27. Let’s make up our minds for goodness sake!oh and if you cross the border at age 16,17,18,19 , unaccompanied, you are considered a child! One age for Everything!

    1. “SB21-017 is sponsored by Republican State Senator Dennis Hisey. Hisey introduced a similar bill in 2020, Senate Bill 20-059.”
      Governor Jared Polis had nothing to do with sponsoring this bill.
      But I agree 1 age for all and 18 made the most sense until the federal government forced the legal drinking age through the interstate compact laws and in a way strong-armed the vast majority of the states to follow this change by advising they would withhold funding for interstate road repairs if they didn’t change.

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