Child sexual abuse in Colorado, especially by individuals in trusted institutions, has destroyed the lives of countless victims and their families. Fortunately, a Colorado child sex abuse lawyer can help those impacted by the abuse to find justice.
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Child sex abuse in Colorado has impacted the lives of numerous children and their families. The pain that sex offenders inflict on their young victims is immeasurable and stays with the affected children for the rest of their lives.
Sadly, much of the abuse in Colorado and throughout the United States is perpetrated by individuals representing institutions and organizations of trust.
The emotional and physical scars these perpetrators leave directly interfere with victims’ abilities to live normal, productive lives and often require them to spend significant resources to cope with the trauma.
Fortunately, recourse is available for many victims, in particular for victims of institutional sexual abuse who were abused decades earlier.
Through the services of a Colorado child sex abuse lawyer, individuals who have been traumatized by sexual predators may seek compensation for the damages done to them. Although money cannot change the past, it does help sexual abuse victims pay for the resources they need to help them continue through life.
Addressing the Long History of Child Sex Abuse in Colorado
Unfortunately, child sex abuse in Colorado is not an anomaly but a regular occurrence that has been impacting the lives of young children for decades.
Of greatest concern is the sexual abuse that continues to occur in institutions of trust, such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America and extracurricular youth programs run by schools and city community centers.
The problem of institutional sexual abuse of children led the Colorado General Assembly to establish a special cause of action that allows institutional victims of decades-old attacks to sue for sexual abuse committed while they were minors.
The Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act (CSAAA)
Under provisions of the CSAAA, victims from certain sexual abuse cases dating back to January 1, 1960, have been granted the right to sue responsible parties for the sexual crimes committed against them while they were minors.
To qualify under the CSAAA, which expires at the end of 2024, the sexual abuse case must have occurred between January 1, 1960, and January 1, 2022, and must have been perpetrated by a person working for an organization that offers or offered youth-related activities.
Additionally, the organization must have known or should have known of the sexual abuse dangers the abuser posed.
The law is a big win for institutional sexual abuse survivors who were harmed as minors long ago and allows them to recover monetary compensation against institutions and the abusive individuals working for them.
The CSAAA also allows victims to sue governmental agencies and organizations by waiving the sovereign immunity privileges they normally enjoy.
Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church
For decades, child victims throughout the United States have accused the Roman Catholic Church of covering up rampant sexual abuse on the part of its priests. In Colorado, substantiated allegations of child-predator activity date back to the mid-20th century.
In 2019, Colorado’s attorney general released a special master’s report that contains a catalog of verified cases of child sex abuse that occurred in the state’s three dioceses— Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo—between 1950 and 2019.
Also in the report are corresponding incidents of failure to act on the part of the dioceses when confronted with substantiated allegations of abuse.
Boy Scouts of America Abuse
Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church is not the sole institution of trust with an extensive history of child sex abuse.
The Boy Scouts of America in Colorado has a record of victimizing children that continues today, with new cases coming to light yearly. Nationwide, the organization is responsible for putting children in the hands of sexual predators on a regular basis and for failing to address the crime.
For years, child sex abuse victims have been filing suit against the various adults in charge who caused them harm or failed to act and covered up the crime, including:
Schools, cities and other government organizations frequently care for and supervise children as teachers, mentors and coaches. Immunity used to be a stumbling block for suing these institutions directly for their failure to report incidents of abuse.
However, the CSAAA changed that by abolishing sovereign immunity for cases involving child sex abuse.
The following answers may be useful in helping you understand what steps you can take to address the sexual abuse you have experienced.