The Colorado State Supreme Court is currently debating the legal merits of the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act. This law would allow victims of sexual misconduct committed between 1960 and 2022 to file a civil suit. Still, its power to look back may violate the Colorado Constitution’s retroactivity clause. Rather than argue the merits of the new law and the ongoing case, we thought it was a good time to explain how Colorado defines child sexual misconduct.
Sexual misconduct involving minors in Colorado
The state defines sexual misconduct broadly as actions for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or abuse of any person. While sexual assault is a criminal charge, sexual misconduct is a civil charge involving damages. This new law specifically involves victims who were minors at the time. Examples that qualify include:
- Masturbating in front of the child
- Forcing the child to masturbate
- Obscene interactions via phone, text or messaging
- Sexual intercourse
The age of consent in Colorado is 17 years old, but younger participants can legally offer consent if the partner is less than four years older. As of now, the victims must file a complaint before January 1, 2025. The cap for damages is between $500,000 and $1 million. Previously statute of limitations could be as short as one year for civil lawsuits, but there is no time limit for cases where the alleged misconduct occurred after January 1, 2022. There is no statute of limitations on those accused of using modern methods for analyzing DNA.
Everyone deserves a strong defense
Those accused of a sex crime are often regarded as guilty until proven innocent. Those accused of sex crimes must take the charges seriously, regardless of how long ago the alleged incident took place. The first person they can go to for help is an experienced criminal defense attorney who handles sex crimes here in Colorado.