KMGH [Denver CO]
July 10, 2021
By C.B. Cotton
[With video interview of survivor of public school abuse]
Senate Bill 88 allows retroactivity for survivors.
Randy Kady fumbles through newspaper clippings at his kitchen table, the headlines from years past tell a story of the trauma that he lived through.
“Teacher’s assaults on youngsters ends in resignation,” Kady reads. The headline is from the Aurora Sun, a former-publication, printed in 1973.
According to Aurora Police Department reports from the same year, a teacher admitted to molesting Kady and at least 30 other young boys enrolled in the Cherry Creek School District.
“I was taught ‘stranger danger’ where the stranger was someone offering me candy and trying to get me in a van to kidnap me. No one ever told me that it could be a teacher in my own classroom,” Kady said. “One of the things I vividly remember was him sticking his hands down my pants past my underwear, and touching me.”
Police reports go on to say that at some point, district leaders wanted to leave police out of the matter — determining that the teacher’s resignation would suffice for his behavior.
Kady’s teacher was eventually charged with one count of sexual abuse and received probation. Kady said he believes the district is also to blame.
“Here’s something that affected 30-plus boys, and they weren’t admitting it,” he said.
Starting in 2022, Colorado organizations, such as schools or churches, can be held responsible for child sexual abuse that occurred in the present or dating back to 1960, per Senate Bill 88. Individual perpetrators can also be sued.
Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill into law this week.
Under the law, survivors will have a window from 2022 to 2025 to file claims.
“It gives me an opportunity to hold people that made decisions for me and did things against me… it gives me an opportunity to hold them accountable,” Kady said.
Michael Nimmo, a plaintiff’s attorney specializing in representing victims of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct, said Senate Bill 88 is a huge victory for children who were sexually abused and haven’t been able to come forward.
“It now allows them to do that and hold not only the people who did this accountable, but the organizations who allowed it to happen,” Nimmo said.
Nimmo also helped advise legislators on Senate Bill 88.
Under Colorado’s current statute of limitations, generally, most survivors have only six years after their 18th birthday to sue a person and only two years to sue an organization.
Not near enough time, according to Nimmo.
“The statistics show that the average age of someone first telling about their abuse, when they were abused as a child, is age 52,” Nimmo said. “Children don’t understand what’s happened to them, they’re scared to tell someone what’s happened to them. They’re afraid they’re going to get in trouble… because of that, they keep it inside for 40 years and live a life long, full of regret. Many times, they feel like they are the ones that did something wrong, and they can’t come forward and explain it.”
Nimmo said he believes more states will soon follow Colorado’s lead.
“In my opinion, the Colorado bill, Senate Bill 88, is a very unique bill because it creates a statutory cause of action, which a lot of these other states aren’t doing that. I think it’s a progressive bill,” Nimmo said.
As for Kady, he’s still considering his options with regards to Senate Bill 88, but he hopes the law will encourage other survivors to come forward.
“It helps give healing and closure, and that’s what they need,” Kady said.
In April, Gov. Polis signed a companion bill, Senate Bill 73, that abolishes deadlines for future victims of child sexual abuse.
Kady testified with his experiences in support of that bill.
“Sadly, there will be future victims of child sexual abuse and it’s necessary to have these measures,” Kady said.