In February, we told you about the arrest of former Basalt High school basketball coach Lauren Redfern, accused of having sex with a student. Now, however, a plea deal is reportedly in the works for a reduced charge that would keep her off the sex-offender registry. Was the age of the student in question -- almost eighteen -- when the relationship began a factor?
During recent years, as we've reported, there has been no shortage of male coaches at high schools who have been accused and/or convicted of having sex with students in their charge. Think of Broomfield High School wrestling coach Travis Masse, Longmont High School karate club overseer Alex Tinsley and Alameda High School basketball coach Wes Specht, a semi-pro player nicknamed "Wild Man."
Likewise, female teachers have gotten into trouble for crossing the line with students -- among them ex-Mountain View High School instructor Courtney Bowles, Englewood High School's Alexandra McLean and Hilltop Baptist Schools' Terah Rawlings, whose father and uncle, both school officials, were accused of knowing about her illicit activities with a fifteen-year-old but failing to tell authorities about it.
However, Redfern, who's 26, was the first female coach in recent memory to face such a charge. She and the student were thought to have been involved in a sexual relationship for three or four months; he was seventeen when it started but soon celebrated his eighteenth birthday. They're said to have trysted at her home or his, not at the school. Conveniently, they lived near each other in the community of El Jebel.
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By the way, Colorado law says that a seventeen-year-old can have a consensual sexual relationship with an adult so long as the latter isn't considered someone in a position of trust. Like, for instance, a teacher.
Now, however, the Aspen Times reveals that Redfern, who resigned from Basalt High a week or so after news of the affair broke, is on the cusp of formalizing an agreement that would see her plead guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. As a result, she will face neither prison time nor enrollment on the sex-offender registry. Moreover, the plea doesn't include a confession that she and the student had sex.
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Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, who gained national attention as the prosecutor in the Kobe Bryant sex-crime case, told the Times that the student's age weighed heavily in the deal. "The fact that he was almost eighteen (played a part)," he said, "and I think ultimately, too, what we were looking for was if there was any 'grooming' behavior on the part of Ms. Redfern, and there was not."
At this writing, Redfern continues to live in the area and is seeking certification as a cross-fit trainer. Here's a larger look at her booking photo.
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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Alexandra McLean tops list of five notorious teacher-student sex crimes."