Last month in a devastating ruling, the Colorado State Supreme Court struck a massive blow to survivors of child sexual abuse when they nullified a 2021 civil window that would have allowed adult survivors to use the civil courts to expose abusers and cover-up.
Although numerous other states have enacted such laws with no issues, the Colorado justices stated that the assembly bill signed into law violates the state constitution, which prohibits any law that is “retrospective in its operation.”
If you are a survivor who was sexually abused as a child in Colorado, we want to say this: We believe you. If you have questions about the ruling, contact our office or another attorney for expert advice on your case and what rights you can still exercise.
Other Statute of Limitation Reform News
Several other states have made significant civil statute of limitation reform for adult survivors of child sexual abuse. The states with the most recent developments follow below:
In 2021, the governor of Arkansas signed the Justice For Vulnerable Victims Of Sexual Abuse Act. The law eliminated the civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse of disabled minors and adults and opened a civil window for adult survivors of child sexual abuse. That civil window closes on January 31, 2024.
Louisiana opened a civil window for adult survivors of child sexual abuse in 2021. In anticipation of this reform, the Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2020. This statewide window for survivors CLOSES on June 13, 2024.
In February of this year, a Maine judge upheld a law that retroactively abolished the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. Although Maine had previously passed a law abolishing the statute on abuse that occurred after the year 2000, this new law allows all cases, regardless of when the abuse occurred, to use the civil courts to expose abuse and seek justice.
The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 goes into effect on October 1, 2023. There is NO EXPIRATION date on this legislation. This means that moving forward survivors have legal rights no matter when the crime occurred.
In 2021, Nevada eliminated the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, no matter when the crime occurred. In 2023, the legislature enacted a similar law for survivors of sexual assault as adults. Recently, women who were sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby in the state used the law to sue the disgraced comedian.
If you were sexually abused as a child, please know there are legal professionals and advocates in the states we referenced that will listen and fight for you. If you have any questions about your privacy, legal rights, or how you can empower other survivors by coming forward, visit our FAQ page, or contact our office confidentially today.