Bill Removing Statute of Limitations in Civil Misconduct Claims Passes House
Bill gives sex assault survivors time to process without losing chance to pursue those accountable

by Avery Martinez

The Colorado House of Representatives last week gave initial approval to a bipartisan bill that removes the statute of limitations on civil claims of sexual misconduct. The bill was sponsored by Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D) and Matt Soper (R) and Sens. Julie Gonzales (D) and Don Coram (R).

Despite the budgetary struggles blocking many bills from passage this session, House Bill 1296 passed 60-1 with four excused. . Democratic Rep. Adrienne Benavidez was the single vote against the bill.

“The effects of trauma have no expiration date, and neither should the timeline for holding a perpetrator of sexual violence accountable,” Michaelson Jenet said in a statement. She added that the legislation would allow survivors to “take time to heal without losing the opportunity to seek justice through the courts.”

Under the existing law, the statute of limitations for bringing a civil claim based on sexual assault or offense against a child is six years, according to The Colorado General Assembly website. However, the statute is “tolled” in cases where the victim is under disability or in a “special relationship” to the perpetrator said assault.

The bill further eliminates a restriction in which, under existing law, a plaintiff bringing a civil action alleging sexual misconduct at or over 15 years after the plaintiff turns 18 is limited to recovering “only certain damages,” according to the assembly site.

The bill removes the statute of limitations on bringing a civil claim based on sexual misconduct , according to a press release from House Democrats. The bill defines sexual misconduct to include all current sexual offenses against children, and “criminal behavior of a sexual nature” which includes requests for sexual favors “accompanied” by threats, violence or coercion.

This article appeared in the June 1 issue of Law Week. To read the rest, and other articles from that issue, purchase a copy online.