New Colorado Law Gives Sex Abuse Survivors New Option In Court

KCNC - CBS 4 [Denver CO]

January 17, 2022

By Rick Sallinger

The first civil case has been filed under a Colorado law that took effect on the Jan. 1, 2022 allowing survivors can sue alleged perpetrators for cases going back to 1960. It was 1977, before and during a river rafting trip in which a then-teenage girl says she was sexually assaulted by a teacher from a private school.

“I immediately buried it. It was too overwhelming for me to handle at my age, and I didn’t tell anyone except a Catholic priest who I confessed it to,” Kate McPhee, now living in Vermont, told CBS4.

She was 15 years old back then. Now decades later she has filed a lawsuit against that teacher in Boulder District Court. CBS4 has not been able to reach him and are not naming him now.

She claims she suffered “pattern of sexual misconduct involving alcohol, drugs and massages.”

Recalling the incident, McPhee says, has been difficult.

“It became very painful for me. It was like finding an abscess that had been buried for almost 40 years, and once I started digging into it was very painful and put me into a deep depression.”

The Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act was passed by the state last year. It lifts the statute of limitations. Attorney James Avery is representing McPhee and other women.

Kate McPhee (credit: Kate McPhee)
Kate McPhee (credit: Kate McPhee)

“They’ve had decades of suffering they can prove, and the impact they can prove on their life is very demonstrable, but unfortunately the jury’s hands are going to be tied when awarding damages.”

It is too late for any criminal charges from this case, but if the law stands, McPhee will get her day in court. Colorado was among the last to pass such a law. It caps any awards at $500,000.