Bill would give survivors of sexual assault time to heal without losing their right to hold perpetrators accountable.
DENVER, CO — The House Judiciary Committee today voted to approve Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet’s bipartisan bill to remove the statute of limitations for civil claims of sexual misconduct. The committee approved the bill by a vote of 8-1.
“Healing from the impact of trauma and sexual assault has no timeline or expiration date, and neither should a survivor’s opportunity to seek justice through the courts,” said Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “This bill will give survivors going forward time to heal, will ensure we keep more perpetrators accountable, and will enhance fairness in the civil justice system. We can and must do better by survivors, and this will move us in the right direction.”
HB20-1296 removes the statute of limitations on bringing a civil claim based on sexual misconduct, which is defined in the bill to include all current criminal sexual offenses including offenses against a child, and other criminal behavior of a sexual nature including requests for sexual favors accompanied by coercion, threat, or violence. The bill also allows claims to be brought against a person or entity that is not the perpetrator of the sexual misconduct.
This bill would become effective for claims arising on or after January 1, 2021 but allows for those victims for whom the current statute of limitations has not yet run to bring a claim based on the provisions of this law. The Colorado constitution has been interpreted to guarantee vested rights in relation to statutes of limitations but not to allow the legislature to make retroactive changes to them.