KDVR.COM Fox 31 [Denver, CO]
January 19, 2023
By Morgan Whitley
A former altar boy filed a lawsuit against a Colorado priest, the Archdiocese of Denver and a Fort Collins church alleging he was sexually assaulted by the priest as a minor.
The civil lawsuit filed by former altar boy Scott Verti, 38, alleges Rev. Timothy Evans raped and committed more than 100 instances of sexual assault against Verti inside church offices and inside Evans’ apartment.
According to the attorneys representing Verti, Evans is known as one of Colorado’s most notorious sex abusers. Evans is also the only Colorado priest to serve prison time for rape while serving as a Catholic priest.
Verti was 14 years old when he was an altar boy at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Fort Collins and was physically and sexually assaulted more than 100 times in the span of three years, the suit said.
“I want other abuse survivors to know they are not alone and there is hope for justice,” Verti said. “The innocence of my childhood was stolen, and my adult life was corrupted because of this abuse. The litigation process so far has been incredibly cathartic by giving me a sense of control in my life I’ve never felt.”
At the time of the assaults, Evans was serving as a priest supervised by the Archdiocese of Denver.
Verti’s lawsuit alleges the archdiocese is at fault because it knew of the risk posed by Evans even before he was ordained a priest in 1993, citing conclusions from a 2019 review of the archdiocese’s records commissioned by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.
According to Weiser’s report, Evans was sent home early from the North American College in Rome after fellow students at the seminary reported that Evans made them uncomfortable and one of them later told the archdiocese’s vicar of clergy that Evans had sexually harassed him.
Other children had alleged similar allegations against Evans and according to attorney Kurt Zaner, he served 13 years in prison on an 18-year sentence after being found guilty of sexually assaulting other minors. He was paroled in July 2020.
Although the abuse occurred over 20 years ago, Verti was able to file a lawsuit because of the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act that was signed into law in 2021. The act allows a victim to bring a civil claim against the suspect for sexual misconduct that occurred when the suspect was a minor.
Until the law was changed in Colorado, victims of childhood sexual abuse only had until the age of 24 to file lawsuits against abusers and had to file lawsuits by the time they turned 21 against employers of alleged abusers.
FOX31 reached out to the Archdiocese of Denver and initially received this statement:
“The Archdiocese of Denver can confirm it has not been served a lawsuit by Scott Verti nor has it seen the complaint. The Archdiocese does not comment on pending litigation.”
At approximately 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, FOX31 received this follow-up statement from the archdiocese:
“The Archdiocese of Denver cares about all survivors of sexual abuse and is fully committed to protecting the most vulnerable members of our community – children, youth, and at-risk adults. The Archdiocese confirms that it participated in an Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program from 2019-2020. Through that program, the Archdiocese resolved more than 55 claims and paid more than $6,000,000 in reparations.”
“That program is now closed. After that program ended in 2020, the Archdiocese developed a Reparations and Healing Protocol that partners with independent administrators in resolving certain claims.”
“Both the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program and the Reconciliation and Healing Protocol are confidential, and thus the Archdiocese cannot comment as to Mr. Verti’s participation in either program. The Archdiocese of Denver can confirm it has not been served a lawsuit by Scott Verti nor has it seen the complaint. The Archdiocese does not comment on pending litigation.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.