Tag: Archdiocese of Denver

Colorado Bill Passed For Child Sexual Abuse Survivors

Colorado Law Removes Statute of Limitations On Lawsuits Filed By Child Sex Abuse Victims

Colorado sexual abuse survivors will finally get a long-awaited change in law to provide civil justice.

After 15 years of intense lobbying, Colorado joins a dozen other states that have eliminated the statute of limitations for some or all types of claims arising from childhood sexual abuse. On April 15, 2021, Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 73, which removes the restrictive statute of limitations placed on victims to file civil lawsuits against their perpetrators or institutions, including employers or youth programs, which are implicated in the misconduct.

Bill 73 goes into effect beginning on January 1, 2022, and survivors of childhood sex abuse and other types of sexual misconduct will be able to hold their perpetrators accountable in Colorado’s legal system, no matter how much time has elapsed since the abuse occurred.

“To all the survivors and advocates who worked tirelessly, I’m really proud to be here when this day has come. There’s no place for red tape between survivors and healing in Colorado,” said Polis during the signing ceremony.

Under current law, children who are abused have six years after they turn 18 to file a civil suit against their perpetrator and two years to sue an organization. This bill applies to a range of other offenses against children and adults, including sexual assault and trafficking.

“Victims deserve justice whenever they choose to seek it. Outdated laws won’t be able to stop them anymore,” said Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, one of the bill’s sponsors. The other House of Representatives sponsor, Rep. Matt Soper, R-Delta, called it a “historic bill.”

Many survivors go years before they are ready to report or talk about the abuse they encountered as children, and this new bill could give them justice and some peace of mind.  According to ChildUSA, the average age for a survivor who comes forward about their abuse is 52. Delayed disclosure can happen for a variety of reasons, including fear, shame, cultural norms, a relationship to the perpetrator and intellectual or communication challenges.

SB-73 also allows parents to bring lawsuits on behalf of their children, including against organizations or entities such as school districts or churches that turned a blind eye to abuse. SB73 applies only to future victims and those whose statute of limitations has not yet expired, with no “look-back window” which would have allowed people for whom the six-year statute of limitations had already expired to be granted a limited period of time in which they’d be able to sue their abusers.

Horowitz Law is experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of child sexual abuse victims in Colorado. You can reach Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.

Child Sex Abuse Attorney Horowitz Law

New Colorado Bill Gives Child Sexual Abuse Survivors A Chance For Justice

Colorado sexual abuse survivors may finally get a long-awaited change in law which provide for civil justice. Under a new bill that the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) helped draft, survivors of child sexual abuse could sue individuals or institutions – for triple damages – if their abuse resulted from a cover-up, no matter how long ago the abuse happened.

This means that sexual abuse survivors would be able to file a claim against the institution, not the individual, without having any expiration date or statute of limitations, seeking three times the damages. Many survivors go years before they are ready to report or talk about the abuse they encountered as children, and this new bill could give them justice and some peace of mind.

Many times when reports of sexual abuse are made to schools or institutions the institutions decide, for whatever reason, to disregard the reports and ignore the problem. There are countless historical examples of this within the Catholic Church in Colorado as noted in recent grand jury reports.

“These organizations and their youth programs were trusted by families and parents to protect children, and instead they covered up child sex abuse. We have a fundamental obligation to hold them accountable to bring healing to these survivors, and also prevent this behavior from happening in the future,” says Danielson. Danielson is also introducing a bill that removes the statute of limitations for all sexual assault claims going forward.

Raana Simmons, Executive Director of CCASA, says the bill is narrowly tailored to target staff who knew, or should have known, about the abuse and did nothing to stop it. “When institutions choose to protect their power and profit by concealing the truth, the cover-up is something completely different and distinct from the sexual abuse that the child experienced in the first place. What this is, we believe, is a path forward to lift the veil of secrecy, to protect our communities, and to make sure that survivors have access to the single system that can provide them with the monetary relief to recover from trauma,” said Simmons.

Unlike other civil liability laws, the bill also prevents school districts from using government immunity to avoid damages.

Horowitz Law is experienced in filing lawsuits nationwide on behalf of child sexual abuse victims. You can reach Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.

Fr. Charles Woodrich – Archdiocese of Denver

Father Charles Woodrich

Archdiocese of Denver

Fr. Charles Woodrich Horowitz Law

Joined priesthood: 1953

Dead: 1991

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Charles Woodrich:

In December 2020, the Attorney General’s Office released a supplemental report of the allegations made in the Colorado Dioceses’ voluntary compensation fund. According to the report, Fr. Charles Woodrich, better known as Father Woody, was one of the newly identified priests who served in the Denver Archdiocese.

Among the allegations documented in the files of the Archdiocese of Denver was one against a priest, Fr. Charles Woodrich.

According to media reports, Woodrich was a longtime advocate for the poor.

Victim #1

According to the report, Woodrich was the subject of a report that he was engaging in ‘grooming’ behavior with a catechism student and altar server by befriending his family and him; having the boy perform chores around the parish, and Woodrich’s residence in which he would pay the boy. Woodrich served as the Pastor at Holy Ghost Parish in Denver, Colorado when he abused Victim #1.

Woodrich sexually abused the victim from 1983-1989 when the boy was approximately 12-18 years old. Woodrich encouraged the boy to drink alcohol and would touch his legs, back, shoulder, and in 1984, Woodrich progressed with Victim #1, resulting in physical sexual abuse.

Most of the abuse occurred at Woodrich’s home. Woodrich continued to sexually abuse Victim #1 once or twice a month up until the next 6 years.

When the report was received through the IRRP in 2020, the Denver Archdiocese reported the abuse to law enforcement and initiated an independent investigation.

Victim #2

Woodrich sexually abused a 15-year-old parishioner in approximately 1976. First, Woodrich got close to the teenage boy and his family. Then, Woodrich invited Victim #2 to Woodrich’s assigned residence at Holy Ghost Parish in Denver, Colorado. 

Victim #2 went to Woodrich’s residence to have dinner and spend the night and woke up to only wearing his underwear.

According to the report, Woodrich was serving as a visiting priest at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Estes Park and assigned as the Pastor of Holy Ghost Parish in Denver, Colorado when he abused Victim #2.

When the report was received through the IRRP in 2019, the Denver Archdiocese reported the abuse to law enforcement and initiated an independent investigation.

Victim #3

Woodrich sexually abused a teenage boy who was approximately 15-16 years old in 1978. First, Woodrich got to know the altar server at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Estes Park in Denver, Colorado and developed his trust. Then, Woodrich invited Victim #2 to Woodrich’s assigned residence at Holy Ghost Parish in Denver, Colorado.

Woodrich had the teenage boy consume alcohol to the point where he was sick and Victim #3 woke up in Woodrich’s residence only in his underwear.

According to the report, Woodrich was serving as a visiting priest at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Estes Park and assigned as the Pastor of Holy Ghost Parish in Denver, Colorado when he abused Victim #3. 

When the report was received through the IRRP in 2020, the Denver Archdiocese reported the abuse to law enforcement and initiated an independent investigation.

Woodrich died in 1991.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver in Colorado. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today

Msgr. Gregory Smith – Archdiocese of Denver

Monsignor Gregory Smith

Archdiocese of Denver

Msgr. Gregory Smith Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1922

Dead:  1992

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Monsignor Gregory Smith:

In December 2020, the Attorney General’s Office released a supplemental report of the allegations made in the Colorado Dioceses’ voluntary compensation fund. According to the report, Msgr. Gregory Smith was one of the newly identified priests who served in the Denver Archdiocese.

Among the allegations documented in the files of the Archdiocese of Denver was one against a priest, Msgr. Gregory Smith. According to the report, Msgr. Gregory Smith was the subject of a report that he was sexually abusing a 9-year-old parishioner at St. Frances de Sales Church in Denver, Colorado.

According to the report, Smith sexually abused the boy from 1971 to 1976 when the boy was 9 to 14 years old. The victim was sexually abused approximately 1,000 times over the course of 5 years.

Smith died in 1992.

When the report was received through the IRRP in 2019, the Denver Archdiocese reported the abuse to law enforcement, however, they did not independently investigate the report because Gregory Smith was already dead.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver in Colorado. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today

Fr. James Moreno – Archdiocese of Denver

Father James Moreno

Archdiocese of Denver

Fr. James Moreno Horowitz Law

Ordained:  1976

Retired:  2013

Initiated process to Laicize: 2019

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father James Moreno:

In December 2020, the Attorney General’s Office released a supplemental report of the allegations made in the Colorado Dioceses’ voluntary compensation fund. According to the report, Fr. James Moreno was one of the newly identified priests who served in the Denver Archdiocese.

Among the allegations documented in the files of the Archdiocese of Denver was one against a priest, Fr. James Moreno. According to the report, Fr. James Moreno was the subject of a report that he was engaging in ‘grooming’ behavior with a 15-year-old freshman boy at St. Andrew’s Preparatory Seminary High School in Denver, Colorado. Fr. Moreno served as a Spiritual Director at St. Andrew’s Preparatory Seminary High School in Denver.

When the teenage boy later attended Bishop Machebeuf High School in Denver, Fr. James Moreno continued to abuse the victim. According to the report, the victim was abused in various areas at St. Andrew’s, including bedrooms and offices. In addition, Moreno sexually abused this boy in the rectory at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, in Moreno’s car, and in a house where Moreno lived.

Moreno sexually abused the victim at least 60 times before the boy turned 18 years old.

According to the report, Moreno sexually abused the victim from 1978-1980 when the boy was 15-17 years old.

In 2019, Moreno admitted he sexually abused the victim when he was accused of doing so.

Moreno had medically retired from priesthood 6 years before the victim reported the sexual abuse incident. However, when the report was received through the IRRP in 2019, the Denver Archdiocese reported the abuse to law enforcement and initiated an independent investigation which resulted in the process to laicize Moreno.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver in Colorado. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today

Fr. Daniel Kelleher – Archdiocese of Denver

Father Daniel Kelleher

Archdiocese of Denver

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Daniel Kelleher:

In December 2020, the Attorney General’s Office released a supplemental report of the allegations made in the Colorado Dioceses’ voluntary compensation fund. According to the report, Fr. Daniel Kelleher was one of the newly identified priests who served in the Denver Archdiocese.

Among the allegations documented in the files of the Archdiocese of Denver was one against a priest, Fr. Daniel Kelleher. According to the report, Fr. Daniel Kelleher was the subject of a report that he sexually abused a St. Paul’s parishioner in his vehicle. Fr. Kelleher served as an Assistant Pastor at St. Paul Parish in Colorado Springs. 

According to the report, Kelleher sexually abused the victim in 1962 when the girl was 15 years old.

When the report was received through the IRRP in 2019, the Denver Archdiocese reported the abuse to law enforcement, however, they did not independently investigate the report because Kelleher had already been laicized.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver in Colorado. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today

Fr. Kenneth Funk – Archdiocese of Denver

Father Kenneth Funk

Archdiocese of Denver

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Kenneth Funk:

In December 2020, the Attorney General’s Office released a supplemental report of the allegations made in the Colorado Dioceses’ voluntary compensation fund. According to the report, Fr. Kenneth Funk was one of the newly identified priests who served in the Denver Archdiocese.

Among the allegations documented in the files of the Archdiocese of Denver was one against a priest, Fr. Kenneth Funk. According to the report, Fr. Kenneth Funk was the subject of a report that he was engaging in ‘grooming’ behavior for 2 years with a teenage altar boy in Holy Name Parish in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. According to the report, Funk sexually abused the victim in 1959 and 1962 when the boy was 13 and 16 years old.

When the report was received through the IRRP in 2020, the Denver Archdiocese reported the abuse to law enforcement, however, they did not independently investigate the report because Kenneth Funk was already dead.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver in Colorado. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today. 

Fr. William Martinez – Diocese of Colorado Springs

Father William Martinez

Diocese of Colorado Springs

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. William Martinez:

In October 2019, the Colorado Attorney General released a detailed report of a special investigation into the handling of child sexual abuse allegations by Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses.  For the first time, Fr. William Martinez was publicly identified as a priest with multiple documented reports of sexual abuse.

According to the documents reviewed by the investigators, the Diocese of Colorado Springs became aware of rumors that Martinez engaged in ‘homosexual activity and inappropriate behavior with boys,’ but deemed them to be “unsubstantiated” because none of the alleged victims would come forward to make a report to the Diocese.  However, a parish employee at Annunciation parish in Leadville reported to the Diocese of Colorado Springs that he suspected Martinez was involved in a sexual relationship with an underaged boy.  When the employee did not provide the boy’s name, the Diocese determined that his report was nothing more than a rumor and took no action except to transfer Martinez to St. Patrick in Colorado Springs.  His supervising pastor was never told of the rumors or anything else relating to Martinez’s history.

The ‘rumors’ never died down.  In 1992, the Bishop of Colorado Springs called Martinez to the chancery and asked him if he ever engaged in sexual contact with an underage boy.  Martinez denied it to the Bishop and to the personnel board, but did admit that he shared a bed with boys occasionally.  He said it was a “culturally appropriate way” to soothe a scared child.  The Bishop took no action except to tell Martinez not to do that again.

The Diocese of Colorado Springs received a report of sexual abuse from Victim #1 in 1993.  According to the victim, he knew Martinez from the parish youth group at Holy Apostles parish in Colorado Springs.  The man said that Martinez invited him to come to the rectory to mediate, and used the setting to massage and then fondle him.  On subsequent occasions, Martinez plied him with alcohol and the abuse escalated to other types of sexual contact.  The victim says the incidents occurred over the course of a few months in 1980 and 1981 when he was 17 years old. Martinez admitted to the allegation and was placed on leave to undergo an inpatient psychological evaluation.

The victim sued the Diocese of Colorado Springs, and the matter was settled in late 1995.

A second man reported his sexual abuse directly to the Diocese of Colorado Springs sometime between 1986 and 1988.  According to the documents reviewed by the AG Investigators, the victim was served alcohol and forced to watch pornographic movies.  At the time, Martinez was assigned to Annunciation in Leadville.

Martinez was voluntarily laicized (removed from the priesthood) by the Vatican in 2006.  His current whereabouts are unknown but he is believed to be living outside of Colorado.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Colorado Springs.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Colorado Springs now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Thomas Woerth – Archdiocese of Denver

Father Thomas Woerth

Archdiocese of Denver

Thomas Woerth Horowitz LawThomas Woerth Horowitz Law

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Thomas Woerth:

In October 2019, the Colorado Attorney General released a detailed report of a special investigation into the handling of child sexual abuse allegations by Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses.  For the first time, Fr. Thomas Woerth was publicly identified as a priest with at least one documented report of sexual abuse.

According to the documents reviewed by the investigators, Woerth sexually abused a male high school student over the course of three years in the early 1970s.  At the time of the abuse, Woerth was the religion coordinator at St. Mary’s High School and residing at Holy Trinity parish in Colorado Springs.  The Report does not outline the exact nature of the misconduct allegedly committed by Woerth.

The abuse report was first made to the Archdiocese of Denver in March 2019.

Woerth is now voluntarily retired and believed to be residing in the Denver area.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver in Colorado.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

 

Fr. Robert Whipkey – Archdiocese of Denver

Father Robert Whipkey

Archdiocese of Denver

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Robert Whipkey:

In October 2019, the Colorado Attorney General released a detailed report of a special investigation into the handling of child sexual abuse allegations by Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses.  For the first time, Fr. Robert Whipkey was publicly identified as a priest with multiple documented reports of sexual abuse.

According to the documents reviewed by the investigators, in May 1998 the Archdiocese of Denver became aware that four sixth-grade boys from St. Anthony of Padua in Sterling were abused during a camping trip with Whipkey.  At the time of the incident, Whipkey was also assigned to Sacred Heart in Peetz and St. Catherine of Siena in Iliff.

The boys each confirmed that Whipkey slept naked, and generally walked around naked for the entire trip. He also used the bathroom with the door open.  Whipkey later admitted to his conduct but denied having a sexual motivation; he claimed that it was his normal routine because he grew up in a naked house.  Years later, after he was arrested for indecent exposure, he admitted that he was sexually motivated when he was naked around the St. Anthony boys.

Whipkey remained in ministry unrestricted after this incident.  He was referred for therapy, and despite the admonitions of his therapist that therapy alone would not prevent sexual abuse, there was no additional supervision or restrictions placed upon him.

In August 2007, Whipkey, who was then assigned to parishes in Mead and Erie, was arrested for indecent exposure.  Police say he was arrested while jogging naked, claiming that clothing made him sweat too much.  The Archdiocese placed him on leave indefinitely.

Whipkey’s current status as a priest is unknown.  He is alive and believed to be residing in the Longmont, Colorado, area.  He is in his mid-60s.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver in Colorado.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.