Tag: Colorado

Colorado Bill Passed For Child Sexual Abuse Survivors

Colorado Sex Abuse Survivors Now Have Options For Justice

New Colorado Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations Gives Many Survivors Access to Courthouse

In early July, 2021, the State of Colorado became the latest in the wave of states to pass an extension to the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases. In a landmark move, it re-opened its courts to many survivors of child sexual abuse by creating new legal rights for people sexually abused after January 1, 1960. Previously, all such lawsuits needed to be filed by the time the survivor turned 24, which is far sooner than experts say survivors of sex abuse come forward. 

Starting in January 2022, survivors of sexual abuse in occurring after January 1, 1960, can sue those responsible for the abuse in Colorado’s courts anytime before January 1, 2025.  Under the law, the abuse must have occurred in conjunction with a “youth related activity,” such as the Boy Scouts, church altar boys, or school activity.  However, the definition is broad enough that most survivors will be able to qualify for the court relief.

The law also includes a provision to increase the damages cap on sex abuse claims.  Starting in 2022, survivors of abuse can seek up to $1,000,000 from private entities who enabled their abuse, up significantly from Colorado’s previous cap.

“We commend Colorado lawmakers for recognizing that sexual abuse causes shame, embarrassment, fear, and guilt that many survivors carry well into their adulthood – and that keeps them suffering in silence for decades,” Adam Horowitz, the managing partner of Horowitz Law says of the new law.  “We are seeing a wave of new legislation across America as more and more survivors come forward to demand access to courts to hold those responsible for their nightmare accountable. We can add Colorado to the list of states that are getting it right.”

The new law takes effect on January 1, 2022.

The lawyers of Horowitz Law have represented victims and survivors of sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide for more than 20 years.  If you were sexually abused in Colorado, contact us now to discuss your legal options. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in Colorado.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused as a child in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those sexually abused in Colorado 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 childhood sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide.  We can help. 

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

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.

Colorado Attorney General Releases Scathing Investigative Report on Sexual Abuse in Catholic Church

On October 23, 2019, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office released its investigative report on clergy sexual abuse in Colorado’s three Catholic Dioceses including the handling of these claims.

The Attorney General’s investigation, headed by former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, found that the dioceses knew of more than 160 children were sexually abused by 43 priests over the last 70 years.  We believe this number is far lower than the actual number of victims.  The Attorney General’s office did not use subpoena power or search warrants. Instead, they relied on the Dioceses and their legal teams to self-report only those claims which they believed were “substantiated” after manually reviewing personnel files and other records.  Further, Religious Order priests — which represent one-third of all priests nationally – were excluded from the report.   Similarly, seminarians who abused and later became priests were excluded from the report as were those who abused vulnerable adults.

The Attorney General’s office also noted that the the Catholic Church often used euphemisms in their personnel records to describe sexual abuse or pedophile so unless the Diocese researcher was familiar with the euphemisms, those claims also would not be reported. By relying on the self-reporting by an organization who was historically disingenuous or flat-out dishonest when it came to child abuse reports, the Attorney General’s data should be expected to be far lower than the actually numbers.

The Attorney’s General’s report was in many cases also critical of the  impartiality of the Dioceses’ internal review boards who investigate allegations of sexual abuse and the role of the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator which had potential conflicts of interest.

Horowitz Law’s managing partner, Adam Horowitz, has handled dozens of matters in the Archdiocese of Denver and the Diocese of Pueblo.  When asked for comment on the Attorney General’s report, Horowitz told Colorado Public Radio:

“There will be many people who are angry. They thought it was just something that happened in their parish or their priest,” said Adam Horowitz, a Florida attorney currently representing a dozen people pursuing compensation fund claims against the church in Colorado. He also represented people in civil cases against the Denver archdiocese, including about White.

“I think the magnitude of the scandal will be exposed. This touched on nearly every parish in the diocese, every community in the state … almost every parish had a perpetrator come through.”

And other investigations, he said, have overlooked one of the most important questions: Who let this happen?

“I think that there should be a focus on not just the perpetrators but also the enablers,” he said. “Some of the enablers may still be in the priesthood.”

Notably, the most prolific abusers identified in the Attorney General Report are Harold Robert White with 63 victims and Leonard Abercrombie with 19 victims.

The Archdiocese of Denver, Diocese of Colorado Springs, and Diocese of Pueblo have all agreed to participate in a voluntary settlement fund called the Independent Reparations and Reconciliation Program (IRRP).  All claims must be registered with the fund by November 30, 2019. 

For more information on the Archdiocese of Denver, click here.

For more information on the Diocese of Pueblo, click here.

For more information on the Diocese of Colorado Springs, click here.

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.