Colorado

 
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A statute of limitations (or SOL), simply, is the maximum amount of time one has to bring a lawsuit from the time of the injury or other ground for a lawsuit.

SOLs vary from state to state and from claim to claim. For example, a SOL for a lawsuit about a contract may be different from a lawsuit about a personal injury and both may be of varying durations between different states. The statute of limitations may also be set to begin running at different times. Some SOLs begin running at the time of the injury and others begin running when the injury is discovered.

Child Sex Abuse Statutes of Limitation and Related Laws

Current Civil SOL

In Colorado, the civil SOL is capped at age 24 (age of majority, 18, plus 6 years). Case law added a discovery rule in 1999. The discovery rule pushes the SOL out to any age at which the victim discovers that an injury was caused by the sex abuse.


SOL vs. perp: +6 years from majority = Age 20
SOL vs. employer: +2 years from majority = Age 24
Majority Tolling: Age 18
Discovery Tolling: Liberal


Colorado State Law Provides:

General limitation of actions - sexual assault or sexual offense against a child - six years

(1) Notwithstanding any other statute of limitations specified in this article, or any other provision of law that can be construed to reduce the statutory period set forth in this section, any civil action based on a sexual assault or a sexual offense against a child shall be commenced within six years after a disability has been removed for a person under disability, as such term is defined in subsection (3.5) of this section, or within six years after a cause of action accrues, whichever occurs later, and not thereafter. Nothing in this section shall be construed to extend the statutory period with respect to vicarious liability.

(2) For the purpose of this section, "sexual assault" means subjecting another person of any age to sexual contact, as defined in section 18-3-401 (4), C.R.S.; sexual intrusion, as defined in section 18-3-401 (5), C.R.S.; or sexual penetration, as defined in section 18-3-401 (6), C.R.S.

(3) For the purposes of this section, "sexual offense against a child" shall include all offenses listed in section 18-3-411, C.R.S.

(3.5)

(a) For the purpose of this section, "person under disability" means any person who is a minor under eighteen years of age, a mental incompetent, or a person under other legal disability and who does not have a legal guardian. "Person under disability" also includes a victim of a sexual assault when the victim is in a special relationship with the perpetrator of the assault or is a victim of a sexual offense against a child or is a victim who is residing in an institutional facility, such as a nursing home, regional center, or residential facility for the treatment and care of persons with mental illness or for the care of persons with developmental disabilities and where the victim is psychologically or emotionally unable to acknowledge the assault or offense and the harm resulting therefrom. For the purpose of this subsection (3.5), "special relationship" means a relationship between the victim and the perpetrator of the sexual assault which is a confidential, trust-based relationship, such as attorney-client, doctor-patient, psychotherapist-patient, minister-parishioner, teacher-student, or familial relationship. It is the intent of the general assembly to leave in place the six-year limitation for adults subjected to a sexual assault except in the situations described in this paragraph (a) in which the victim is in a special relationship with the perpetrator of the assault. In the circumstances in which a victim is in a special relationship with the perpetrator of the assault or is a victim of a sexual offense against a child or a victim who is residing in an institutional facility, such as a nursing home, regional center, or residential facility for the treatment and care of persons with mental illness or for the care of persons with developmental disabilities and where the victim is psychologically or emotionally unable to acknowledge the assault or offense and the harm resulting therefrom, the six-year limitation shall be tolled until the disability is removed. For the purpose of this section, where the plaintiff is a victim of a series of sexual assaults or sexual offenses against a child, the plaintiff need not establish which act of a series of acts caused the plaintiff's injury, and the statute of limitations set forth in this section shall commence with the last in the series of acts, subject to the provisions of this section regarding disability. However, as elements of the cause of action, a person under disability who is psychologically or emotionally unable to acknowledge the assault or offense and the harm resulting therefrom shall have the burden of proving that the assault or offense occurred and that such person was actually psychologically or emotionally unable to acknowledge the assault or offense and the harm resulting therefrom.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 13-90-107, the filing of a claim pursuant to this subsection (3.5) is deemed to be a limited waiver of the doctor-patient privilege or the psychologist-patient privilege to persons who are necessary to resolve the claim, and a doctor or psychologist who provided medical care and treatment or counseling and treatment to the plaintiff for injuries upon which an action under this subsection (3.5) is based may be examined as a witness. All medical records pertaining to any relevant medical care and treatment or counseling and treatment of the plaintiff are admissible into evidence in an action brought pursuant to this subsection (3.5) and shall be available for inspection upon request by the parties to the action.

(c) If the plaintiff brings a civil action under this subsection (3.5) fifteen years or more after the plaintiff attains the age of eighteen, the plaintiff may only recover damages for medical and counseling treatment and expenses, plus costs and attorney fees.

(d) It is the intent of the general assembly in enacting this subsection (3.5) to extend the statute of limitations as to civil actions based on offenses described in subsection (1) of this section as amended on July 1, 1993, for which the applicable statute of limitations in effect prior to July 1, 1993, has not yet run on July 1, 1993.

(3.7) An action may not be brought pursuant to subsection (3.5) of this section if the defendant is deceased or is incapacitated to the extent that the defendant is incapable of rendering a defense to the action.

(4) It is the intent of the general assembly in enacting this section to extend the statute of limitations as to civil actions based on offenses described in subsection (1) of this section for which the applicable statute of limitations in effect prior to July 1, 1990, has not yet run on July 1, 1990.

(5) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to extend or suspend the statute of limitations or statute of repose applicable to a claim alleging negligence in the course of providing professional services in the practice of medicine. This subsection (5) shall not be construed to preclude pursuing a civil action pursuant to this section alleging a sexual offense based on a legal theory other than negligence in the course of providing professional services in the practice of medicine, unless the sexual assault forms the basis for a claim of such negligence.

Colo. Rev. Stat. 13-80-103.7

Tolling:

Majority, yes

Notwithstanding any other statute of limitations specified in this article, or any other provision of law that can be construed to reduce the statutory period set forth in this section, any civil action based on a sexual assault or a sexual offense against a child shall be commenced within six years after a disability has been removed for a person under disability, as such term is defined in subsection (3.5) of this section, or within six years after a cause of action accrues, whichever occurs later, and not thereafter.
Colo. Rev. Stat. 13-80-103.7 (1)

Discovery, yes, liberal

Section 13-80-108, Colo. Rev. Stat. 1998, provides that a cause of action accrues on the date both the injury and its cause are known or should have been known by theexercise of reasonable diligence.
Salisbury v. Parks, 983 P.2d 1337, 138 (Colo. Ct. App. 1999)

Current Criminal SOL

In Colorado, there is no criminal SOL child sex abuse claims.

NONE, for all child sex abuse crimes.


Colorado State Law Provides:

Limitation for commencing criminal proceedings and juvenile delinquency proceedings

(1)(a) Except as otherwise provided by statute applicable to specific offenses, delinquent acts, or circumstances, no adult person or juvenile shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any offense or delinquent act unless the indictment, information, complaint, or petition in delinquency is filed in a court of competent jurisdiction or a summons and complaint or penalty assessment notice is served upon the defendant or juvenile within the period of time after the commission of the offense or delinquent act as specified below:

Murder, kidnapping, treason, any sex offense against a child, and any forgery regardless of the penalty provided: No limit
Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit murder; attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit kidnapping; attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit treason; attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any sex offense against a child; and attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any forgery regardless of the penalty provided: No limit

C.R.S.A. § 16-5-401

Age of Majority: 18. See, Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-22-101.
Age of Consent: 17. See, Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-3-402.

Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: 16 (under 16 with judicial consent). See, Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14-2-106..
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 18. See, Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14-2-106.


DNA Provision

Current DNA Provision

*As of December 2018

Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section concerning sex offenses against children, in any case in which the identity of the defendant or juvenile is determined, in whole or in part, by patterned chemical structure of genetic information, and in which the offense has been reported to a law enforcement agency, as defined in section 26-1-114(3)(a)(III)(B), C.R.S., within twenty years after the commission of the offense, there shall be no limit on the period of time during which a person may be prosecuted after the commission of the offense

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 16-5-401 (West)


Medical Neglect Statute

CIVIL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE

No child receiving spiritual treatment in accordance with a recognized form of religious healing will be considered abused or neglected for that reason alone. However, this exemption does not apply in life-threatening situations and proper medical tests are required to ensure the child’s condition will not result in serious disability.

Colorado Law Provides:
No child who in lieu of medical treatment is under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with a recognized method of religious healing shall, for that reason alone, be considered to have been neglected or dependent within the purview of this article. However, the religious rights of a parent, guardian, or legal custodian shall not limit the access of a child to medical care in a life-threatening situation or when the condition will result in serious handicap or disability. In order to make a determination as to whether the child is in a life-threatening situation or that the child’s condition will result in serious disability, the court may, as provided under section 19-1-104(3), order a medical evaluation of the child. If the court determines, on the basis of any relevant evidence before the court, including the medical evaluation ordered pursuant to this section, that the child is in a life-threatening situation or that the child’s condition will result in serious disability, the court may, as provided under section 19-1-104(3), order that medical treatment be provided for the child. A child whose parent, guardian, or legal custodian inhibits or interferes with the provision of medical treatment in accordance with a court order shall be considered to have been neglected or dependent for the purpose of this article and injured or endan¬gered for the purposes of section 18-6-401, C.R.S.

(2) A method of religious healing shall be presumed to be a recognized method of religious healing if:

(a)(I) Fees and expenses incurred in connection with such treatment are permitted to be deducted from taxable income as “medical expenses” pursuant to regulations or rules promulgated by the United States Internal Revenue Service, and
(II) Fees and expenses incurred in connection with such treat¬ment are generally recognized as reimbursable health care expen¬ses under medical policies of insurance issued by insurers licensed by this state; or
(b) Such treatment provides a rate of success in maintaining health and treating disease or injury that is equivalent to that of medical treatment.
Colorado Revised Statutes §19-3-103

CRIMINAL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE

A child cannot not be considered neglected solely for the reason of being provided remedial treatment in accordance with an established religion.

Colorado Criminal Statute:
COLORADO defense to nonsupport No child shall be deemed to lack proper care for the sole reason that he is being provided remedial treatment in accordance with section 19-3-103, CRS. Colorado Revised Statutes §14-6-101

Note: Sec. 19-3-103 is a civil statute with a religious exemption.


Religous Liberty Statute

Religious liberty statute that could put children at risk

2015 Pending Bills

  1. State Freedom Of Conscience Protection Act (H.B. 1171)

  2. A bill to prohibit public institutions of higher education from denying a religious student group a benefit solely based on the group’s requirement that its leaders adhere to religious beliefs or a standard of conduct (H.B. 1037)

View Bill [PDF Document]


The information provided is solely for informational purposes and is not legal advice. To determine the SOL in a particular case, contact a lawyer in the state.