A statute of limitations (SOL) is a legal deadline. SOLs are determined at the state level and vary based on the crime.
Clergy Abuse in Colorado
Colorado Attorney General Philip Weiser commissioned an investigation into the extent of priest abuse in Colorado. The resulting Colorado report accuses 43 Catholic priests of child sex abuse. Survivors of abuse and victim advocates are calling for legislative changes to expand the legal rights of survivors.
Free, Confidential Case Evaluation.
*Cases may be filed anonymously to protect the victim’s identity.
Colorado Clergy Abuse Lawsuits
In the last decade, reports of clergy abuse have been documented in every state in the country. Prosecutors have launched investigations into the systemic sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Lawmakers in several states broadened the legal rights of victims through legislation. And, survivors of abuse are taking legal action against their abusers and the organizations that hid the abuse.
The Colorado priest abuse report was the first step for the state to address decades of abuse. However, due to current state laws, the majority of victims abused by a clergy member in Colorado are unable to file a civil lawsuit. These cases date back decades and are thus time-barred from the civil legal process. However, recent legislation has expanded the timeframe for victims to file criminal cases.
Victim advocates are fighting for additional legislative changes to expand these legal deadlines. Several states have done so in the last few years. Such changes would grant more time for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to process their trauma and seek justice in court.
Colorado Sexual Assault Legislation
In recent years, Colorado lawmakers have passed two bills that benefit victims of sexual assault.
The Need for Amended Child Sexual Abuse Laws in Colorado
Although these two bills expand a victim’s rights, many advocates believe these laws don’t do enough. Survivors of child sexual abuse still have limited options when it comes to pursuing civil claims in Colorado.
Currently, survivors have just six years after they reach 18 years of age to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser. For many survivors of child sexual abuse, it can take decades to process the trauma and find the courage to face their abuser in a courtroom. The current laws don’t take this into account. However, a new bill has been proposed to rectify the situation.
HB20-1296 Revises Civil Statute Of Limitations for Sexual Assault
On February 12, 2020, House Bill 1296 was introduced by Colorado state lawmakers. If passed, the bill would make legislative changes for survivors of sexual assault seeking to file civil lawsuits.
The main provisions of the bill include:
- HB20-1296 defines sexual misconduct.
- HB20-1296 eliminates the legal deadline for survivors of sexual assault to file civil lawsuits.
- HB20-1296 allows a survivor of abuse to sue a person, organization or institution that is not the perpetrator of the abuse. For example, a victim of clergy abuse could not only sue the abusive priest but also the responsible diocese that covered up the abuse.
If passed, HB20-1296 would also eliminate several provisions from the current law:
- HB20-1296 no longer requires a victim of a series of sexual assaults to confirm which act in the series caused the victim’s injuries.
- HB20-1296 no longer caps damages in older cases of sexual misconduct.
- HB20-1296 no longer prohibits a victim who is a person under disability or is in a special relationship with the perpetrator of the assault from suing against a defendant who is deceased or incapacitated.
Some states have passed similar legislation that not only extends or eliminates the legal deadline for future claims but also applies to older cases. However, HB20-1296 does not retroactively apply the new provisions to past cases.
As of March 30, 2020, HB20-1296 is currently under consideration.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Priest Sexual Abuse in Colorado?
When taking any legal action against an abuser, a victim must follow the statute of limitations related to the crime.
The legal deadline a survivor must follow will differ depending on whether the survivor is pressing criminal charges or filing a civil lawsuit.
There are two types of criminal charges a victim may bring against an abuser. Depending on the severity of the crime, sexual assault may be considered a felony or a misdemeanor. In Colorado, there is a different legal deadline for felony charges versus misdemeanor charges.
Felony – In Colorado, felony charges of sexual assault must be filed within 20 years of the crime. If a victim was younger than 18 and older than 14 at the time of the abuse, the victim has 20 years to press charges after he or she turns 18 years of age.
In Colorado, there is no time limit to file felony charges of sexual offenses committed against a child (under the age of 15).
Misdemeanor – In Colorado, misdemeanor charges of sexual assault must be filed against an abuser within five years of the crime.
Learn more about the criminal statutes of limitations in Colorado here.
According to current Colorado law, a survivor of sexual assault has six years to file a civil claim against his or her abuser. A survivor of child sexual assault must file a civil claim within six years after he or she has reached the age of 18.
If the abuser (defendant) is found guilty in a criminal case, he or she may face probation or time in prison. The victim (plaintiff) would only receive money if the court requires the defendant to pay restitution to the plaintiff.
If the abuser (defendant) is found liable in a civil case, he or she must pay a monetary award to the victim (plaintiff). The amount of the award is determined by the jury. The award covers any damages caused by the abuse.
Clergy Abuse Settlements in Colorado
There are more than 40 priests accused of abuse in Colorado. According to the investigation’s resulting report, 166 children were the victims of sexual abuse by these priests. This high number of victims has led to a large number of lawsuits. To avoid lengthy and costly trials, the Catholic Dioceses of Colorado has settled many of these priest abuse cases.
By July 2008, the Denver Archdiocese settled 43 claims against just three abusive priests. The archdiocese paid more than $8.2 million to settle all the claims.
Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program
In 2019, the Colorado Dioceses and the state attorney general’s office created the Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program (IRRP). The priest abuse reparations program established a fund to pay compensation to priest abuse victims. If a survivor of abuse chooses to accept the money offered through the IRRP, he or she forgoes any future rights to sue the dioceses.
As of January 31, 2020 the IRRP is no longer accepting new claims.
For some victims, the IRRP offers several important benefits:
- The IRRP is voluntary, and a survivor of abuse can refuse the compensation offered.
- The IRRP is controlled by third-party administrators, not the responsible diocese.
- The IRRP pays compensation within two weeks after a claim is deemed “eligible.” For many victims, this can be more convenient compared to lengthy, costly legal battles.
Critics of the program observed several drawbacks:
- The compensation amount awarded through similar programs is generally less than an applicant could win through a lawsuit.
- Because compensation is paid privately through the fund, the Colorado Dioceses avoid negative publicity that could occur during a trial.
- To be eligible for the program, a victim had to be abused by a clergy member in the Colorado Dioceses. A victim abused by a member of a “religious order, clergy of another diocese or lay persons” cannot file a compensation claim through the IRRP. However, these victims could still file a lawsuit if the legal deadline has not expired.
The program opened on October 7, 2019. The program sent applications to 65 victims with prior abuse allegations against the dioceses. Those who had not previously reported their abuse had to register for the program by November 30, 2019. All claims had to be submitted by January 31, 2020.
The IRRP covers all claims against Colorado priests accused of abuse within the following dioceses:
- Archdiocese of Denver
- Diocese of Colorado
- Diocese of Pueblo
In total, 87 people filed claims with the IRRP. As of February 2020, the fund has distributed a total of $1.2 million to 10 applicants.
List of Priests Accused of Abuse in Colorado
This is a list of Catholic priests accused of abuse in Colorado. This list does not include clergy members of other religious orders or denominations. This list does not include staff members, volunteers or congregation members accused of abuse in the Colorado Dioceses.
If you believe any of the Roman Catholic priests accused of abuse in Colorado were active abusers in other states, search for their name using our nationwide, searchable database of accused priests.
If you do not see the name you are looking for within our list of priests accused of abuse in Colorado, this does not limit your legal options. This list may expand as additional abusive priests in Colorado are identified.
If you or someone you know is a survivor of priest abuse in Colorado, you have legal rights. Learn more about your legal options by consulting one of our experienced lawyers today.
There are 20 accused clergy members from the Archdiocese of Denver, CO:
Colorado Priest Abuse Victim Resources
There are many programs and organizations that support sexual abuse survivors in Colorado. These groups provide useful resources for victims and their families. This list of sexual violence support programs in Colorado is organized by county.
Colorado Sexual Violence Programs by County
|County||Facility Name||Phone Number(s)|
|Adams||The Blue Bench||Hotline: 303-322-7273|
|Adams||Family Tree||Hotline: 303-420-6752|
|Alamosa||Tu Casa, Inc.||Hotline: 719-589-2465|
|Arapahoe||The Blue Bench||Hotline: 303-322-7273|
|Arapahoe||Family Tree||Hotline: 303-420-6752|
|Archuleta||Sexual Assault Services Organization (SASO)||Hotline: 970-247-5400|
|Archuleta||Rise Above Violence||Hotline: 970-264-9075|
|Baca||Domestic Safety Resource Center||Hotline: 719-336-4357|
|Bent||Arkansas Valley Resource Center||Hotline: 719-384-7764|
|Boulder||Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA)||Hotline: 303-443-7300|
|Boulder||Family Tree||Hotline: 303-420-6752|
|Broomfield||The Blue Bench||Hotline: 303-322-7273|
|Broomfield||Family Tree||Hotline: 303-420-6752|
|Chaffee||The Alliance||Hotline: 719-539-7347|
|Cheyenne||Domestic Safety Resource Center||Hotline: 719-336-4357|
|Clear Creek||Clear Creek County Advocates||Hotline: 303-569-3126|
|Clear Creek||PeaceWorks, Inc.||Hotline: 303-838-8181|
|Conejos||Tu Casa, Inc.||Hotline: 719-589-2465|
|Costilla||Tu Casa, Inc.||Hotline: 719-589-2465|
|Crowley||Arkansas Valley Resource Center||Hotline: 719-384-7764|
|Custer||Family Crisis Services, Inc.||Hotline: 719-275-2429|
|Delta||Latimer House |
|Denver||The Blue Bench||Hotline: 303-322-7273|
|Denver||Family Tree||Hotline: 303-420-6752|
|Dolores||Renew, Inc.||Hotline: 970-565-2100|
|Douglas||The Blue Bench||Hotline: 303-322-7273|
|Douglas||Family Tree||Hotline: 303-420-6752|
|Eagle||Response||Hotline: 970-925-SAFE (7233)|
|Eagle||Bright Future Foundation||Hotline: 970-949-7086|
|El Paso||Haseya Advocate Program||Office: 719-600-3939|
|El Paso||TESSA||Hotline: 719-633-3819|
|Elbert||The Blue Bench||Hotline: 303-322-7273|
|Fremont||The Alliance||Hotline: 719-539-7347|
|Fremont||Family Crisis Services, Inc.||Hotline: 719-275-2429|
|Garfield||Advocate Safehouse Project||Hotline: 970-945-4439|
|Gilpin||The Blue Bench||Hotline: 303-322-7273|
|Gilpin||Family Tree||Hotline: 303-420-6752|
|Grand||Advocates for A Violence-Free Community||Hotline: 970-725-3412|
|Gunnison||Project Hope of Gunnison Valley||Hotline: 970-275-1193|
|Hinsdale||Project Hope of Gunnison Valley||Hotline: 970-275-1193|
|Hinsdale||Rise Above Violence||Hotline: 970-264-9075|
|Huerfano||Advocates Against Domestic Assault||Hotline: 719-846-6665|
|Jackson||The Sexual Assault Victim Advocate (SAVA) Center||Hotline: 970-472-4200|
|Jefferson||The Blue Bench||Hotline: 303-322-7273|
|Jefferson||Family Tree||Hotline: 303-420-6752|
|Jefferson||PeaceWorks, Inc.||Hotline: 303-838-8181|
|Kiowa||Domestic Safety Resource Center||Hotline: 719-336-4357|
|Kit Carson||SARA House||Office: 970-867-2121|
|La Plata||Sexual Assault Services Organization (SASO)||Hotline: 970-247-5400|
|Lake||Advocates of Lake County, Inc.||Hotline: 719-486-3530|
|Larimer||The Sexual Assault Victim Advocate (SAVA) Center||Hotline: 970-472-4200|
|Larimer||Estes Valley Crisis Advocates||Hotline: 970-586-4000|
|Larimer||Alternatives to Violence||Hotline: 970-880-1000|
|Las Animas||Advocates Against Domestic Assault||Hotline: 719-846-6665|
|Lincoln||The Blue Bench||Hotline: 303-322-7273|
|Logan||SARA House||Office: 970-867-2121|
|Mesa||Latimer House |
|Mineral||Tu Casa, Inc.||Hotline: 719-589-2465|
|Moffat||Open Heart Advocates (formerly Advocates Crisis Support Services of Craig)||Hotline: 970-824-2400|
Office Line: 970-824-9709
|Montezuma||Renew, Inc.||Hotline: 970-565-2100|
|Montrose||Latimer House |
|Morgan||SARA House||Office: 970-867-2121|
|Otero||Arkansas Valley Resource Center||Hotline: 719-384-7764|
|Ouray||Latimer House |
|Park||PeaceWorks, Inc.||Hotline: 303-838-8181|
|Phillips||SARA House||Office: 970-867-2121|
|Pitkin||Response||Hotline: 970-925-SAFE (7233)|
|Prowers||Domestic Safety Resource Center||Hotline: 719-336-4357|
|Pueblo||Pueblo Rape Crisis Services (PRCS)||Hotline: 719-549-0549|
|Rio Blanco||Safehouse, Inc.||Office: 970-878-3131|
|Rio Grande||Tu Casa, Inc.||Hotline: 719-589-2465|
|Routt||Advocates of Routt County||Hotline: 970-879-8888|
|Saguache||Tu Casa, Inc.||Hotline: 719-589-2465|
|San Juan||Sexual Assault Services Organization (SASO)||Hotline: 970-247-5400|
|San Miguel||Alternative Horizons||Hotline: 970-247-9619|
|Sedgwick||SARA House||Office: 970-867-2121|
|Summit||Advocates for Victims of Assault||Hotline: 970-668-3906|
|Washington||SARA House||Office: 970-867-2121|
|Weld||The Sexual Assault Victim Advocate (SAVA) Center||Hotline: 970-472-4200|
|Yuma||SARA House||Office: 970-867-2121|
|Sources:||Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Violence Free Colorado|
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault
The Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) is “the collective voice of rape crisis advocates across the state of Colorado.” The organization works in a number of ways to address and prevent sexual assault across the state.
Colorado Clergy Abuse FAQs
How Do I Report Sexual Abuse By a Priest in Colorado?
If you or someone you know is in danger, call 911 immediately.
To report sexual abuse of a minor in Colorado:
Please call the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 844-CO-4-Kids (26-4-5437) to report child sexual abuse.
You may also report sexual abuse of a minor to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office by completing an online form found here.
To report any sexual assault:
If you or a loved one are a victim of sexual assault, you can report the assault in two main ways.
- Sexual assault can be reported to local law enforcement.
- Sexual assault can be reported by way of seeking a medical forensic exam.
If the victim seeks a forensic exam, the evidence will be sent to local law enforcement. The victim may choose to report anonymously. If he or she does so, no contact information will be included with the evidence sent to law enforcement.
The victim also has the right not to test the evidence. If the victim chooses this route, the law enforcement agency will hold onto the evidence for two years, during which time, a victim has the right to pursue criminal charges against the abuser.
Learn more about reporting abuse cases in Colorado here.
To report abuse to the Archdiocese of Denver:
Contact the Office of Child & Youth Protection by calling 720-239-2832 or emailing [email protected].
To report abuse to the Diocese of Colorado Springs:
You can electronically report abuse to the Colorado Springs Diocese by filling out the online form here.
To report abuse to the Diocese of Pueblo:
Report all abuse claims committed by a clergy member to the Vicar for Clergy.
Rev. Msgr. Edward Nunez | Vicar for Clergy
Phone: 719-544-9861 ext. 1121
Email Address: [email protected]
Report all abuse claims committed by a diocesan or parish staff member to the Diocesan Human Resources Department.
Nancy Martinez | Safe Environment and Human Resources
Phone: 719-544-9861 ext. 1110
Email Address: [email protected]
Do I Have to Currently Live in Colorado to File a Colorado Priest Abuse Lawsuit?
You do not have to live in Colorado to file a clergy sex abuse lawsuit in the state. However, the case must relate to the state in some way. For example, a survivor of abuse may file a lawsuit against a priest or a specific diocese in Colorado if the abuse took place there.
Who Can File on Behalf of a Victim?
Someone who has legal authority for a victim of abuse may file a lawsuit on the victim’s behalf. Most often, this person would be a victim’s parent, guardian or conservator. A victim’s estate may also seek legal action on behalf of the victim.
Free, Confidential Case Evaluation.
If you or a loved one suffered abuse while involved with the Catholic Church, you have rights.
Receive your response in 24 hours
Receive your response in 24 hours
Meneo Group managing partner: Ron Meneo
With more than 30 years of practice in product liability and personal injury law, The Meneo Law Group and its partners have helped clients obtain more than $20 billion in total compensation.
Archdiocese of Denver. (Updated 2020, March 16). Office of Child & Youth Protection.
Brown, J. (2019, October 7). Colorado attorney general announces new settlement fund for victims of Catholic priest abuse. The Colorado Sun.
The Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs. (N.D.) Child Abuse.
Civil Action Statute Of Limitations Sexual Assault, House Bill 1296 (Colorado 2020).
CO4Kids. (N.D.) You Can Help.
Colorado Attorney General. (2019, June 16). Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault. (Updated 2018, January 14). Get Help. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault. (Updated 2020, March 12). Rape Crisis Services. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
The Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program for the Archdiocese of Denver, the Diocese of Colorado Springs and the Diocese of Pueblo (“IRRP”). (N.D.) Home.
Department of Public Safety. (Updated 2017, December 28). Reporting Options for Victims of Sexual Assault. Colorado Department of Justice.
Diocese of Pueblo. (N.D.) Reporting Suspected Abuse.
Extend Statute Of Limitations Sexual Assault, House Bill 1260 (Colorado 2016).
Frosch, D. (2008, July 2). Denver Archdiocese to Pay $5.5 Million in Abuse Suits. The New York Times.
Lexis Nexis. (N.D.) C.R.S. 13-80-103.7.
Oravetz, J. (2020, February 19). 87 people file claims of sexual abuse by Colorado catholic priests. 9News.com.
Paul, J. (2020, February 13). Child sex abuse survivors victimized decades ago won’t be able to sue despite Colorado effort to end statute of limitations. The Colorado Sun.
RAINN. (2020, March). Criminal Statutes of Limitations Colorado.
Stack, L. (2019, October 23). Colorado Report Accuses 43 Catholic Priests of Child Sex Abuse. The New York Times.
Unlawful Electronic Sexual Communication, House Bill 1030 (Colorado 2019).
Violence Free Colorado. (Updated 2018, August 27). Programs by County. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
(2018, May 31). Catholic dioceses and orders that filed for bankruptcy and other major settlements. The National Catholic Reporter.