An illicit affair between a physical education teacher and her student was unearthed when the two were found allegedly having sex in the school bathroom of the teacher’s office. The athletic director of Basalt High School outside of Aspen, Colorado, reportedly found 26-year-old Lauren Redfern and one of her male students engaged in a sexual act, an affidavit states.
According to the Daily Mail, Redfern, who graduated from the high school in 2004 and was a star basketball player in her day, turned herself into the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office Thursday morning, and was charged with sexual assault on a child by a person in position of trust.
Redfern had been the teen’s study hall teacher, according to CBS Denver. Though the student is of-age now, their affair had started when the boy was a minor, the sheriff’s office said.
Eagle County Undersheriff Mike McWilliam said ‘the juvenile and teacher had sexual conduct at her house and at his house.’
The alleged affair is believed to have lasted for ‘three to four months, since last fall,’ Mr McWilliam told the Post Independent.
The undersheriff was clear that no illicit sex happened at the high school when the two were discovered on February 9, as the student was 18 - and considered an adult - at the time.
Per Colorado state law, a 17-year-old can have a sexual relationship with an adult of any age as long as it is consensual. However, the latter cannot be considered a person of trust.
Mr McWilliam told MailOnline that a person of trust is 'anybody who would be responsible for care - namely, we use it for teachers.'
He said: ‘If she weren’t a teacher, it wouldn’t be a criminal act.'
The Aspen Times reported the police were contacted on February 10 by Basalt High School, and Redfern, accompanied by her father Tom Redfern, went to the Eagle County police station Thursday morning.
Her hearing was at 12:30pm yesterday. Reports said that she appeared in court wearing orange prison slippers and shackles on her ankles, but was otherwise dressed in civilian clothing.
Eagle County Court Judge Katherine Sullivan reduced the usual $15,000 bond in cases such as these to $5,000, telling the court that she didn’t think Redfern to be a flight risk.
The Times reported that Redfern was able to leave the jail by 4pm yesterday afternoon.
Redfern faces several provisions regarding her bond. For one, she is not allowed to have contact with the alleged victim, nor any person under the age of 18.
She faces anywhere from four to 16 years in prison and the Class Three felony charge of two counts sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.
Redfern did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.
Her next hearing is on March 6, the Times noted.
Redfern was placed on paid leave last week. However, it is Basalt’s policy to let go any teacher who has had sexual contact with students, the Times reported.
She was a 2004 graduate of Basalt, and, while a student, was a star of the school’s women’s basketball team. The affidavit stated that Redfern was also coach of the girls’ basketball team, a health teacher, and a study hall monitor.
In the affidavit, she said that the relationship with the student was ‘unintentional.’
The two began exchanging flattering texts last fall, the documents show. By Christmas, ‘they both felt attracted to one another,’ it read.
Redfern told authorities that the relationship began when the student was over at her house in Eagle County watching a movie. During the film, the two kissed and touched each other, but nothing more happened, the affidavit said.
The student called Redford for assistance with a school paper two weeks later, the document stated. He then went over to her house for help, where the two allegedly had sexual intercourse.
The couple had sex at least five times after that, Redfern told authorities – both when he was underage and after he turned 18.
The student also met with authorities, telling them that he pursued his teacher romantically and that they shared similar interests, according to the affidavit.
According to the Post Independent, cases involving a sexual relationship between an underage student and a person of trust – such as a teacher – have resulted in lengthy prison sentences.
The website notes the case of Travis Masse, who worked as a wrestling coach and social studies teacher at Broomfield High School.
He was convicted in 2011 of having sex three times with a 17-year-old female student, and was sentenced to ten years to life, as well as 20 years on parole.
However, Mr McWilliam notes a 2007 case where a former Christian high school teacher was sentenced to only five months of jail. John James Allen, then 28, was also slapped with ten years of sex-offender probation.