Let’s begin today’s update on Mark Hurlbert and Colorado’s latest legal
telenovela by correcting several important details about Basalt High Girls Basketball coach studess, just-turned 26-year old Lauren Redfern, and her more than consensual sexual relationship with a very late teen, who I will for now refer to by the name “Slugger.” Credit for the man-child’s apt moniker belongs to the fun writers at the popular celebrity site Busted Coverage. And like many stories involving baffling Mark Hurlbert case filing decisions, this one’s now gone international and is cracking up readers across the pond in the U.K’s photo-studded Daily Mail.
I posted here on Thursday, based on news reports, that Slugger, a senior at Basalt High, was a tender child of the mere age of 17 1/2 at the time he was violated. But according to Eagle County Sheriff’s documents filed in court February 17, Slugger but was a full 17 and 11/12th years old at the time of his most recent heinous “sexual assault” at the hands and otherwise of Coach Redfern. And another sexual encounter occurred right after Slugger hit the big 1-8, but Slugger was no longer a victim of a serious felony at that point. I’m hoping we’ll see a hunky photo and learn Slugger’s name real soon.
And speaking of serious felonies, original reports I cited stated Coach Redfern faced up to 16 long years in a costly-to-taxpayers, union-run Colorado prison for her multiple acts of “sexual assault” against Slugger. The Fifth Judicial District’s lame duck, term limited DA Mark Hurlbert helpfully set the record straight that Colorado is not some pansy, slap-on-the-wrist state in serious “sexual assault” cases such as allegedly committed by Coach Redfern upon the helpless, passive, athletic male body of Slugger. No, no, no, no as we say in Mexico. Redfern actually faces life in prison for what she allegedly did to Slugger.
Not that Slugger’s felonious victimizer would actually receive such a Sharia Lawesque sentence, because DA Hurlbert will be considering all the “mitigating and aggravating” circumstances in negotiating a likely plea bargain, and the judge will do the same in imposing sentence. But life as one knows it is basically destroyed by the mere stroking of some computer keys in just being charged with a felony.
Slugger Pursued The Coach!
I anticipate this revelation from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department will be a major mitigating factor.
[Slugger] met with investigators at the sheriff’s office substation in El Jebel and told them he pursued Redfern romantically. He said they met two years ago and shared an interest in athletics and they worked out at the same gym. The student said Redfern was his study hall teacher. [Slugger] said they got together several times starting in October and engaged in fondling, which advanced to sexual intercourse “about three times” in November and December, before he was 18. Their sexual relationship continued after he turned 18, according to his interview. He told deputies he believes he fell in love with Redfern. [Emphasis added] “[Slugger] explained that Redfern had no bearing on any of his grades or status within Basalt High School,” the affidavit said. “[Slugger] said that he never felt like he had to develop the relationship or continue it in exchange for any benefit or status.” Both Redfern and the student said they decided after “the bathroom incident” on Feb. 9 to discontinue their relationship until after the student graduated. They had little choice since the criminal investigation began the next day.
Now, what is this “bathroom incident”? It’s a classic.
[Coach Redfern and Slugger] drew attention to themselves while allegedly having sex in the bathroom of the teacher’s office Thursday, Feb. 9, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. The athletic director of the school allegedly interrupted the encounter when he knocked on the bathroom door, said an affidavit filed in support of an arrest warrant. Teacher Lauren Redfern came out of the bathroom and exited the office with the athletic director while the student stayed behind, the affidavit said. “School administrators confronted the student who told them that he had sex with the teacher in the bathroom,” the affidavit continued. The document, which was filed in Eagle County District Court, didn’t make it clear if [Slugger] was questioned by school administrators on Thursday or Friday. Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said she believed the incident occurred late in the day on Feb. 9 and that district administrators began investigating the morning of Feb. 10.
But it gets even better (or worse) when the “bathroom incident” and its aftermath is examined from my inevitable defense lawyer perspective. That’s because the “bathroom incident” was perfectly legal because Slugger was now 18! So if Slugger and Coach hadn’t opened their big mouths and “cooperated” with meddlesome government employees they would have been in the clear.
The bottom line is that the legislature is at fault for sloppily drafting this statute, but a DA has tremendous discretion on what charges to file against whom and where to spend taxpayer resources. Mark Hurlbert is a lame duck in the upcoming November election, but there is no reason to believe his nominally-GOP second-in-command (another career bureaucrat like his boss), Scott Turner, would be much of an improvement. I wouldn’t vote for Joe Biden any sooner than I would vote for Turner.
By contrast, private-sector lawyer Bruce Brown, nominally the Democrat opponent, seems to get very well that the vast majority of voters want a DA who goes full throtel after dangerous bad guys and doesn’t in cases like this one. And he brings voters some perspective-providing big city law background as well as years of private practice in Colorado as a respected, successful, ethical, case-winning attorney with 25 years’ experience. Just what Colorado mountain county voters could use after nine insufferable years of Mark Hurlbert.