Convicted Sex Offenders and Parental Rights

February 4, 2020

Convicted Sex Offenders and Parental Rights

Colorado statute prohibits contact between a sex offender and their own child.

However, in United States v. Burns, a 2014 U.S. District Court case in Colorado, the Court ruled that a parent has a constitutional right to maintain parental association with a child, and that right can only be limited by compelling circumstances. A compelling circumstance is a high standard that includes, for example, the victim being the offender’s own child.

When you are charged with a sex crime, it is critical that you hire an attorney highly skilled in presenting all defenses, as well as one who knows the current law on potential penalties and consequences of a conviction.

Attorney Douglas T. Cohen served two terms as a felony SVU/sex crimes prosecutor in Colorado. As a defense attorney for the past several years, he has specialized in defending clients accused of sex offenses. He knows the laws and makes sure his clients’ rights are protected, including their constitutional right to raise their own children.

Because of the tension between the Burns ruling and state statute, attorneys must help judges balance a parent’s constitutional right to familial relationships with potentially posing undue risk to the children of sexual offenders. 

When helping the Court make a decision, the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) now recommends that evaluators focus on risk factors that predict a convicted sex offender’s risk for sexually offending against his/her own child.

Some SOMB risk factors are:

  • Number of convictions for sexual offenses
  • Number of sexual offenses
  • The nature of the relationship of the offender to victim
  • Number of victims
  • Age and gender of victims
  • Age, gender, and abuse history of the offender
  • Diagnosis of pedophilia
  • Psychopathy or psychopathology
  • Years spent in the community without sex offense convictions

Call Peak Legal now at (720) 445-9779 or email [email protected] for a free consultation.

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