COLORADO

CHILD SEX ABUSE SOLs

CURRENT CIVIL SOL

Colorado has no civil SOL for child sex abuse claims.  It added a new cause of action which applies retroactively and opens a 3-year window on January 1, 2022 for filing some claims for abuse that occured years ago.

CIVIL SOL SNAPSHOT

AGE CAP

NONE

DISCOVERY TOLLING

YES, NO TIME LIMIT

WINDOW LAW

3-YEAR WINDOW (closes 12/31/24)

 

Changes Since 2002:

Age Cap: 1990, Colorado set the SOL for claims against perpetrators of a sexual offense against a child at age 24 (age of majority, 18, plus 6 years) or 6 years from accrual. Other claims were subject to Colorado’s general 2-year SOL for negligence and expire at age 20 (age of majority, 18 plus 2 years) or 2 years from accrual.  In 2021, Colorado eliminated its civil SOL for sexual assault of minors and adults. It also added a new civil cause of action for sexual misconduct against a minor with no SOL, allowing claims to be brought at any time. 

Discovery: The courts recognized a discovery rule in 1999, which pushes accrual of the SOL out to any age at which the victim discovers that an injury was caused by the sex abuse.  In 2021, when Colorado eliminated its civil SOL, it removed the time limit for claims that had not yet accrued where victims had not yet discovered their injury was caused by the abuse, and for recent discoveries where the claims had not yet expired. 

Revival Law: In 2021, Colorado added a new civil cause of action for sexual misconduct against a minor that also applies retroactively. It opens a 3-year window and allows claims to be brought against perpetrators and public and private institutions for abuse occurring from 1960 to 2021. The window opens on January 1, 2022 and closes on December 31, 2024. For a guide to help survivors understand their rights during the legal process of filing a civil lawsuit under Colorado’s window, click the survivor tool kit below. 

CURRENT COLORADO CIVIL LAW

COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. § 13-80-103.7 (NO SOL)

13–80–103.7. General limitation of actions—sexual misconduct—third-party liability—definition.

(1)(a) Notwithstanding any other statute of limitations specified in this article 80, or any other provision of law that can be construed to  limit the time period to commence an action described in this section, any civil action based on sexual misconduct, including any derivative claim, may be commenced at any time without limitation.

(b) This subsection (1) applies to causes of action accruing on or after January 1, 2022, and to causes of action accruing before January 1, 2022, if the applicable statute of limitations, as it existed prior to January 1, 2022, has not yet run on January 1, 2022.

(2)As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, sexual misconduct means any conduct that forms the basis of a civil action that is engaged in for the purpose of the sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse of any person, and that constitutes any of the following:

(a) A first degree misdemeanor or a felony offense described in part 3 or 4 of article 3 of title 18 or a felony offense described in article 6 or 7 of title 18;
(b) Human trafficking for sexual servitude, as described in section 18–3–504;
(c) A federal sex offense as defined in the federal “Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act”, 34 U.S.C. sec. 20911 (5)(A)(iii);
(d) Obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, as described in 18 U.S.C. sec. 1466A;
(e) Transfer of obscene material to minors, as described in 18 U.S.C. sec. 1470; or
(f) Attempt or conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion, as described in 18 U.S.C. sec. 1594.

(6)(a) This section also applies to any cause of action arising from factual circumstances that include sexual misconduct that is brought against a person or entity that is not the perpetrator of the sexual misconduct.

(b) This subsection (6) applies to causes of action accruing on or after January 1, 2022, and to causes of action accruing before January 1, 2022, if the applicable statute of limitations, as it existed prior to January 1, 2022, has not yet run on January 1, 2022.

COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. § 13-80-101 13-80-102 (2-year SOL)
(1) The following civil actions, regardless of the theory upon which suit is brought, or against whom suit is brought, must be commenced within two years after the cause of action accrues, and not thereafter:
(a) Tort actions, including but not limited to actions for negligence, trespass, malicious abuse of process, malicious prosecution, outrageous conduct, interference with relationships, and tortious breach of contract; except that this paragraph (a) does not apply to any tort action arising out of the use or operation of a motor vehicle as set forth in section 13-80-101(1)(n);
(b) All actions for strict liability, absolute liability, or failure to instruct or warn;
(c) All actions, regardless of the theory asserted, against any veterinarian;
(d) All actions for wrongful death, except as described in subsection (2) of this section;
(e) Repealed by Laws 1987, S.B.75, § 8, eff. July 1, 1987.
(f) All actions against any public or governmental entity or any employee of a public or governmental entity for which insurance coverage is provided pursuant to article 14 of title 24, C.R.S.;
(g) All actions upon liability created by a federal statute where no period of limitation is provided in said federal statute;
(h) All actions against any public or governmental entity or any employee of a public or governmental entity, except as otherwise provided in this section or section 13-80-103;
(i) All other actions of every kind for which no other period of limitation is provided;
(j) All actions brought under section 42-6-204, C.R.S.;
(k) All actions brought under section 13-21-109(2).
(2) A civil action for a wrongful death against a defendant who committed vehicular homicide, as described in section 18-3-106, C.R.S., and, as part of the same criminal episode, committed the offense of leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in the death of a person, as described in section 42-4-1601(2)(c), C.R.S., regardless of the theory upon which suit is brought, or against whom suit is brought, must be commenced within four years after the cause of action accrues, and not thereafter.
Case law

CURRENT CRIMINAL SOL

There is currently no SOL in Colorado for felony sex offenses against children, but the SOL is 18 months for misdemeanors. 

CRIMINAL SOL SNAPSHOT

ANYOTHER FELNOIES

ANY FELONY SEX OFFENSE AGAINST A CHILD

 NO SOL COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. §§ 16-5-401 (1)(a)

MISDEMEANORS

18 MONTHS COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. §§ 16-5-401 (1)(a)

 

DNA SNAPSHOT

 

DNA Rule

 N/A N/A

 

Changes Since 2002:

In 2002, Colorado set the SOL for sex crimes against children at age 28 (age of majority, 18, plus 10 years). As of 2006, Colorado eliminated the SOLs for all felony sex offenses against children. In 2019, Colorado added unlawful electronic sexual communication to its list of felony sex offenses against children for which there is no SOL, however misdemeanor crimes still have an SOL of 18 months from the offense.

CURRENT COLORADO CRIMINAL LAW

COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. §§ 16-5-401 (1)(a) (no SOL and 18-month SOL)
(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
Vehicular homicide, except as described in paragraph
(a.5) of this subsection (1); leaving the scene of an
accident that resulted in the death of a person:
Five years
Other felonies:
Three years
Misdemeanors:
Eighteen months
Case Law

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.

Last Updated: April 21, 2021

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