State law allows sex abuse victims to collect restitution in civil court from public, private institutions

By | July 10, 2021

“The Catholic Church in Colorado has run independent reconciliation programs that have paid out money to several victims of childhood sexual abuse,” said Brittany Vessely, executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, referring to the Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program, which was in effect from October 2019 to November 2020.
“Other entities, especially public entities, have previously not allowed for victims to be able to approach them,” Vessely said. “This bill does provide that new opportunity for victims who have been denied any form of support to be able to pursue that path forward.”
Senate Bill 88, however, makes a distinction between public and private entities, allowing for private entities to be responsible for up to $500,000 in damages, with the possibility of the damages being doubled should a judge determine that cover-up was at play. Public institutions are only responsible for up to $387,000 in damages.
“It’s basically the state saying if you are a victim of a private entity employee, you are able to collect more than somebody who is abused by somebody working from a public institution,” Vessely said. “Keeping the caps equal is promoting fairness, and recognizing that a victim of sex abuse is a victim of sex abuse regardless of who they were abused by.”
“The private entities need to be held to the same standard as the public entities, and vice versa,” Vessely said.
The Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program found zero substantiated allegations against any diocesan priests in active ministry in Colorado, and zero substantiated allegations against any diocesan priests since 1999. 

0Shares