Sex charges against former Basalt teacher to be dropped
Ryan Summerlin May 22, 2012
BASALT – A plea agreement is pending for a former Basalt High School teacher arrested in February on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with a student, attorneys confirmed Monday.
Snowmass Village lawyer Lawson Wills, who along with Glenwood Springs attorney Greg Greer represents Lauren Redfern, said she pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The plea is not an admission to having a sexual relationship with the student, who was 17 years old during a portion of the purported affair, Wills said.
She does not face prison time, Wills said.
Likewise, Redfern’s name will not be submitted to the sexual-offender registry, Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said.
“It’s not a sex crime,” he said. “She won’t have to be on the registry.”
The plea agreement still awaits a final approval from 5th Judicial District Judge Katharine Sullivan, who last week tentatively signed off on the arrangement. Wills said Sullivan still must review the pre-sentence investigation report, among other things, before blessing the deal.
A sentencing hearing is set for June 26.
Hurlbert and Wills said Redfern faces a two-year deferred judgment as part of the agreement. He said he expects her to be on supervised probation during that period. In the meantime, a protection order that prohibits Redfern from having contact with the student remains in effect, Wills said. The sex was consensual and spurred by the student, according to an arrest-warrant affidavit filed by an Eagle County sheriff’s deputy.
Wills said the pending plea agreement is “in recognition of a middle ground being reached.”
“After we talked to the victim and his family, and we talked with (the defense attorneys), we felt that this was the best agreement,” Hurlbert said.
On Feb. 15, Redfern, who also coached the Basalt High School girls basketball team, was charged with two counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, pattern of abuse. She faced four to 16 years in prison if convicted on those charges.
About one week later, Redfern, who also taught health and physical education and monitored a study hall at the school, tendered her resignation.
Police suspect there was more than one incident of sexual contact between Redfern, 26, and the male student.
Wills said that any relationship Redfern had with the student occurred “just a few weeks before his 18th birthday.”
“That was one of the mitigating factors” in the pending plea agreement, Wills said.
“It certainly did,” he said. “The fact that he was almost 18 (played a part) 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.”
Wills said that Redfern is trying to move on with her life, and is working on obtaining her certification as a cross-fit instructor.
“Obviously her career is going to take a different turn, and it’s going to be different than she thought it would be,” he said, “so she’s trying to work those things out.”
Wills said Redfern continues to reside in the Roaring Fork Valley.
“Lauren wants thank all of her supporters in the Basalt community,” he said. “It’s been a very tough time for her, and their support was very important to her in both the case and personally.”