December 28, 2014

Colorado Supreme Court: Defendant who Sexually Assaulted Girlfriend’s Daughter Did Not Establish Relationship with Victim for Purpose of Assault

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Gallegos on Monday, July 1, 2013.

Sexually Violent Predator—“Established a Relationship”—“Promoted a Relationship”—CRS § 18-3-414.5(1)(a)(III).

The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the court of appeals’ decision affirming petitioner’s designation as a sexually violent predator under CRS § 18-3-414.5(1)(a). The Court held that an offender “established a relationship” with his or her victim primarily for the purpose of sexual victimization where the offender created, started, or began a relationship primarily for that purpose. Here, petitioner had lived with the victim and treated her as his stepdaughter for the three years preceding the assault. The Court held that, based on these facts, petitioner had not established a relationship with the victim primarily for the purpose of sexual victimization. Thus, he should not be designated as a sexually violent predator.

The Court also held that an offender “promoted a relationship” if, excluding the offender’s behavior during the commission of the sexual assault that led to his or her conviction, the offender otherwise encouraged a person with whom he had a limited relationship to enter into a broader relationship primarily for the purpose of sexual victimization. Because the trial court failed to consider whether petitioner promoted a relationship with his victim primarily for the purpose of sexual victimization, the Court remands the case to the court of appeals with instructions to remand to the trial court to make specific factual findings and determine whether petitioner promoted a relationship with his victim primarily for the purpose of sexual victimization.

Summary and full case available here.

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