Four things to know about Colorado’s new assault law
Colorado state law takes allegations of sexual abuse seriously. A conviction is often a felony and can lead to decades of imprisonment and hundreds of thousands in fines. Even the allegation of these types of crimes can have a catastrophic impact on one’s personal and professional reputation. Those who face such allegations are wise to take the matter seriously. This includes building a defense and staying current on any changes to the law that could impact your case.
One recent change involves the ability of alleged victims to report sexual abuse years after the incident in question. In the past, there was a six-year statute of limitations to report sexual abuse. The Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act removes this time limit for those who were minors at the time of the abuse.
Four things to know about this new law include:
#1: Organizations can face charges.
The law allows the alleged victim to file a civil claim against both the individual they state committed the abuse as well as the organization that operated the activity or program if the organization “knew or should have known” of the misconduct and the misconduct occurred while participating in the program.
#2: Can file against the government.
This act waives sovereign immunity. This is an important point because it means an alleged victim can file suit against a public employee or public entity — something generally not allowed as laws often shield government actors from liability. This can extend to include schools.
There are a couple of different things to know about timing when it comes to this law. The first thing to know is when the law goes into effect. It is now active and went into effect on January 1, 2022.
The second thing to know is how the timing of the incident at issue impacts the ability of an alleged victim to use this law. Those who claim abuse could use the cause of action available through this law if the incident occurred on or after January 1, 1960. However, there is a deadline for retroactive claims. If an instance of abuse occurred between January 1, 1960, and January 1, 2022, the alleged victim must begin the action before January 1, 2025.
There is currently no time limitation under this law to file allegations of abuse that occur after January 1, 2022.
#4: Limitations on recovery.
The law also limits how much the alleged victim can reclaim against a public employee or entity to the damages listed in the “Colorado Government Immunity Act.” All other claims are generally capped at $500,000. However, the court can award up to $1 million in certain situations if it finds the limitation unfair.