Survivors of Sexual Abuse Between January 1, 1960, and January 1, 2022, Now Able to Bring Actions
Denver, CO [12th October, 2022] — This past year, the Colorado Legislature signed the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act or CSAA. The law, which went into effect in January, allows those who survived sexual assault or misconduct as a minor to bring a civil claim against individuals or entities that manage youth organizations.
Based on this new law, survivors who experienced abuse between January 1, 1960, and January 1, 2022, may file a claim. However, they must commence their action before January 1, 2025. Despite this time limit, there are other protections in place for claimants. In any abuse case brought under this law, the court or jury may not allocate any damages against the survivor of the misconduct.
More About the Act
The new law now makes it possible for claimants to bring an action against “actors,” managing organizations, public employees, or public entities responsible for abuse. Actors include any person accused of committing sexual misconduct. However, managing organizations may include a public entity that operates a youth program, in which they:
- Hire adults as employees, agents, or volunteers;
- Set conduct standards for their employees, agents, or volunteers; or
- Screen potential employees, agents, or volunteers.
Since this act covers many instances of sexual abuse of a minor, the definition of youth program is quite broad. In fact, § 13-20-1201 describes this as “an event, program, service, or any other enterprise that involves participation by a minor.” This includes any organization that puts adults in a position of responsibility or trust over minors, regardless of the type of activity. Programs that offer preschool or K-12 educational services or after-school activities are also included in this statutory definition.
In addition to opening up the statute of limitations for sexual abuse, the law also outlines available damages. Under § 13-20-1205, a claimant may receive a maximum of $500,000 unless they have clear evidence that the defendant failed to take remedial actions when notified of the abuse. In these cases, the maximum damages are $1 million.
There is only one exception to this rule. If the defendant is a public employee or government entity, the damages under § 24-10-114 apply instead. The limit under this law is $350,000 for any single occurrence of misconduct.
What This Means for Survivors
While the act is a great boon for sexual abuse survivors, it’s important that they know about the time limit for filing a claim. Attorney Michael Blanton, one of the partnered attorneys of Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., says that claimants should start taking action sooner rather than later.
“Given that the cause of action created by this legislation is only available until January 1, 2025, it is important that victims of sexual misconduct take action as soon as possible to protect their legal rights,” Blanton says. “This is particularly true for victims of sexual misconduct that may have occurred decades ago, and which would not be actionable except for the narrow opportunity provided by this new law.”
However, Blanton doesn’t want survivors to be discouraged from seeking assistance. “We encourage all victims of sexual misconduct to educate themselves regarding their rights, and to take prompt action to protect those rights. We would be honored if you wanted to contact us to learn more about your rights under this new law.”
About Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C.:
The attorneys of Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. understands what’s at stake in many cases. With decades of experience serving communities around Denver, we believe that everybody deserves an advocate. That’s why we always fight for the rights and freedoms of our clients. With an AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell for ethical excellence and several top attorney recognitions, our goal is to protect the voices of our clients.
If you’re a survivor of sexual abuse or misconduct, we are here to tell you more about the rights offered to you under this act. To schedule a confidential, no obligation consultation, contact us today.