Ferguson v. People

In Ferguson v. People, 824 P.2d 803 (Colo. 1992), the Supreme Court of Colorado considered the constitutionality of a statute prohibiting consensual and nonconsensual sexual contact between a psychotherapist and a client. The Supreme Court of Colorado acknowledged that certain private activities and intimate relationships qualify for the elevated status of fundamental constitutional rights. However, the court concluded that "it has never been the law that consenting adults, solely by virtue of their adulthood and consent, have a constitutionally protected privacy or associational right to engage in any type of sexual behavior of their choice under any circumstances." Id. at 808. The court recognized that treatment may cause a client to develop a deep emotional dependence upon the psychotherapist and that the professional community nearly unanimously considers the mismanagement of this dependence to be malpractice. The court held that it had "no hesitation in concluding that neither the treating psychotherapist nor the psychotherapy client has a fundamental constitutional right to engage in sexual intercourse with each other during the existence of a psychotherapist-client relations." Id. at 810.