Colorado is similar to other states across the country in imposing mandatory reporting requirements upon select individuals having knowledge of sexual abuse being inflicted on children by third parties.
The list of persons tasked with that duty is long. As noted on a relevant Colorado government website addressing mandatory reporting , it centrally includes a number of professionals who are in frequent and close contact with children, including these individuals:
- Health care providers, ranging from doctors and dentists to nurses and counselors
- School officials, teachers and employees
- Police officers
- Clergy members
Those people and many others must report child sexual abuse to law enforcers. Current state law provides that it is imperative they do so within a period of 18 months, with a failure to comply opening them up to criminal liability.
That statute of limitations was tested recently by a Colorado Senate bill seeking to extend the timeline limit to five years. Proponents say that a longer period is needed to better protect victims and increase the likelihood that perpetrators will be identified and criminally charged.
The would-be legislation was defeated in a Senate committee even before it got to a formal vote.
It is likely that there will be further debate on the bill and the proper time bar to be used in cutting off legal claims and liabilities regarding its subject matter. That is often the case concerning statutes of limitation, which some people find controversial even while recognizing their importance in ensuring that the potential for criminal liability does not exist indefinitely into the future.
Statutes of limitation serve a key purpose in criminal law, both to promote fundamental fairness and to ensure that the accuracy of evidence is not tainted or otherwise compromised by an undue passage of time. A proven criminal defense attorney can provide further information.