March 27, 2006

Senate considers opening up public schools to new sex abuse lawsuits

Summit Daily News

March 26, 2006

DENVER - In trying to allow childhood victims of sex abuse to sue the Roman Catholic Church, state lawmakers are now faced with whether to also open up public schools - and taxpayers - to lawsuits of their own.

Senate Bill 143 would open up a two-year window for adults to file lawsuits against private institutions like the church. A vote on that is being delayed until lawmakers review House Bill 1090, which would get rid of the time limits for filing lawsuits because of sexual abuse against children from now on.

That measure, scheduled for a hearing Monday in the Senate, would waive the government's immunity for such lawsuits and allow victims to collect up to $732,000 in damages. That's higher than the $300,000 cap that's in place for the handful of other areas where people can sue state government.

However, institutions, like schools, would only be liable if they knew an employee had a history of abusing children but didn't step in and remove him from working with children.

Posted by kshaw at March 27, 2006 07:55 AM