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SB21-088: 2021 Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act

This Colorado legislation passed in 2021, SB21-088, affects public libraries and has implications for public library policies. In summary:

The act creates a statutory cause of action for a victim of sexual misconduct that occurred when the victim was a minor. The victim may bring a civil claim against the actor who committed the sexual misconduct and against an organization that operates or manages a youth-related activity or program (youth program) if the organization knew or should have known of a risk of sexual misconduct against minors and the sexual misconduct occurred while the victim was participating in a youth program managed by the organization. The act waives sovereign immunity for the claim so a victim may bring a claim against a public employee or public entity that operates a youth program, including an educational entity operating an educational program or a district preschool program.

The cause of action is available to a victim of sexual misconduct that occurred on or after January 1, 1960. A person who was the victim of sexual misconduct that occurred between January 1, 1960, and January 1, 2022, must commence an action before January 1, 2025. There is no limitation on the time to bring a claim for sexual misconduct that occurs on or after January 1, 2022. A person may not, prior to an incident of sexual misconduct, waive the right to bring a civil action; any purported pre-incident waiver is void as against public policy.

Click here for the full text of the bill.

In April 2022, the Special District Association (SDA) provided tools for public library directors and Trustees concerning SB21-088, including a webinar and FAQs (these resources are appropriate for and available to directors and Trustees at all types of libraries, not just for those that are Special Districts):