Colorado Catholic Diocese Sexual Abuse
There is overwhelming evidence of priests and clergy of the Colorado Catholic dioceses sexually abusing minors for decades. The resulting public outcry has led to a national movement that has successfully changed the laws in many states allowing victims to be financially compensated for their abuse by the Catholic church. Although Colorado is behind states like New York – which has recently extended the statute of limitations for victims to bring sexual abuse claims – small steps toward justice are being taken in Colorado. This article explores the most recent initiative by the Colorado Attorney General and Colorado Catholic dioceses to get justice for victims of sexual abuse by priests and clergy. If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse in any form (ranging from obscene gestures or words to inappropriate touching to sexual penetration), our Catholic sex abuse lawyers want to hear from you. Call Cook, Bradford & Levy today at 303-543-1000 for your free consultation – regardless of where you live or when your abuse happened.The Colorado Attorney General’s Report on Sexual Abuse by Colorado Catholic Dioceses
In February of 2019, the Colorado Attorney General and Catholic Dioceses in Colorado (located in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo) agreed to investigate claims of sexual abuse against the Catholic church. As part of the agreement, Catholic Dioceses paid for a lawyer – called a Special Master – to review instances of misconduct going as far back as 1950 and to then issue a report identifying “substantiated allegations” of sexual misconduct. The report is expected to be complete by October of 2019. You can find a copy of the Agreement between the Attorney General and the Colorado Dioceses here.Skepticism About the Colorado Dioceses Report
Law firms like Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, view this effort by the Catholic Dioceses of Colorado with skepticism. While we will withhold our judgment until the release of the Report, sexual abuse lawyers in Colorado and across America understand that many victims were young when they were abused – sometimes decades ago. It is only as adults that the depth of the damage to a sexual assault victim is fully understood, which is usually long after Colorado’s statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit for money damages has passed. Trial attorneys know that real justice does not come from a report, but instead is the result the truth being told in open courtrooms across Colorado so that the stories of abuse can be heard and victims can regain their voices.
So here’s what the upcoming Report lacks:
- It does NOT extend the statute of limitations for filing claims against the Catholic Dioceses in Colorado;
- It does NOT include cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests who are considered “religious order” priests;
- It does NOT provide for open records about allegations of abuse by Diocesan priests; and
- It does NOT provide for an independent tribunal to openly, fairly, and fully resolve claims against a Colorado Diocese.
Given these limitations, it seems that the Colorado Catholic Dioceses has continued to take a path of avoiding responsibility for their actions in relation to the sexual predators they placed in our communities. Indeed, nothing short of an extension of the statute of limitations will allow full justice to be had.So What Does Justice for Church Sex Abuse Victims Look Like in Colorado?
At this point, the three Catholic Dioceses in Colorado have agreed to provide a voluntary compensation fund for victims of sexual abuse. This program will be available following the release of the Report by the Special Master. While it appears that the compensation fund will be administered by nationally known mediators, the amounts available to victims and the process of presenting claims is yet unknown.
What is clear is that this compensation program, while a step in the right direction, falls short of the justice offered in a courtroom. To achieve an extension of the statute of limitations, even for a limited time, will undoubtedly require action by Colorado’s General Assembly.Helping Victims of Catholic Sex Abuse
At Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, our attorneys are fierce advocates for our clients who have suffered wrongdoing. If you or someone close to you has been sexually abused in any form by a Catholic priest or member of the church in Colorado, we invite you to call us for a free discussion of your case. Our Catholic sex abuse lawyers understand that many victims live in far flung reaches of the State, or may even live outside of Colorado. With that said, we would be happy to talk with you over the phone and potentially schedule an in-person meeting with you after our initial intake. Call us today at 303-543-1000 to start getting the help you need to make your claim.