DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s year-old law that gives child sexual assault victims a window to sue their abusers will go before the state Supreme Court, which will review whether the law is constitutional.
A case at hand involves a former Rangeview High School coach accused of sexually abusing a girl on his basketball team. She claims the coach sexually abused her all four years of high school in the early 2000s, starting when she was 14 years old.
An attorney for the plaintiff, James Avery, said he filed a brief in support of the law on Tuesday.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for justice where it is truly needed,” Avery said in a statement. “I have turned away dozens of clients who were sexually abused as children but who didn’t come forward in time to file a case. This new law gives them a remedy, albeit a limited one.”
Avery said he has a number of pending cases under the law, with various judges ruling the law both constitutional and unconstitutional.
‘Retrospective action’ at issue in sex abuse law
Now age 36, the former high school athlete sued under the law after it went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
Judge Elizabeth Volz, of the 18th Judicial District, dismissed her case. She wrote that the law “constitutes retrospective action, which is unconstitutional under both our federal and state constitutions,” according to the ruling in favor of Aurora Public Schools and the former coach.
The woman appealed, and then the defendants asked the Colorado Supreme Court to take up the case. They’re asking for the court to decide whether the new law violates the state’s constitutional ban on retrospective laws.
That request was granted on Dec. 21.
Colorado’s law, meant to provide a remedy to child victims of sex abuse, applies to cases going back to 1960. Victims have until Jan. 1, 2025, to file claims that were once barred by the statute of limitations.