Sex crimes prosecutions in Colorado have reached a level of overzealousness that has not gone unnoticed by judges, juries, and criminal defense attorneys. In particular, there seems to have been a rise of legal proceedings taken against a defendant with the sole intent of generating enthusiasm for a cause, rather than reaching a conviction based on legitimate evidence and charges. A recent case involving a high school teacher and a student exchanging inappropriate communications does well to highlight this prosecutorial trend.
Mark Moore, a teacher at Cheyenne Mountain High School, was charged with sexual assault on a child in a position of trust. The 32-year-old math teacher was arrested after a school resource officer reported an inappropriate relationship between Moore and one of his students. According to the arrest affidavit, Moore was found exchanging sexually explicit text messages with one of his sophomore female students.
More than a year after the arrest, Moore was found not guilty of sexual assault charges due to a careful analysis of the communications and the state’s legal definition of the sex crime. While Moore had admitted to exchanging inappropriate text messages with his student, the jury agreed that inappropriate text messages do not constitute sexual assault, especially in cases when there is consent between the two parties.
Moore was able to avoid conviction, but there is no undoing the damage the high-profile sexual assault accusation has done to his personal life and career. Moore may find it difficult to obtain another job as an educator or earn back the trust of his former students and their parents. The student who was involved in the incident was also harmed by the public sexual assault case, suffering damage to her reputation and alienation from her peers.
The case against Mike Moore is an important lesson in the real damaged caused by overzealous prosecutions. Despite the lack of actions and evidence of anything that constituted a crime as serious as sexual assault, the prosecution moved forward in order to try to spread awareness of the situation. All courts must learn from the inexcusable circumstances within that case, or else overzealous prosecutions will continue to be a problem.
In the meantime, if you have been wrongfully accused of a sex crime in Colorado, do not assume the accusations will clear themselves up on their own just because you are innocent. Consult with a knowledgeable Colorado sex crimes defense lawyer from the Law Office of Kevin Cahill as soon as possible. Our Denver criminal defense attorney can help you at any point of your case, even before charges are officially filed in an attempt to keep your reputation from ever being stained.