The lawsuit alleges child sexual abuse by Rev. Jerry McKenzie beginning in 1995 at a local Denver church and a well-known Diocesan camp for kids
The suit is believed to be among the first filed against the Episcopal Diocese under a new Colorado law allowing survivors of sexual abuse access to the courthouse for a limited time
On July 21, 2022, Horowitz Law attorneys Adam Horowitz and Jessica Arbour filed a new child sexual abuse and coverup lawsuit against the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado. Arbour announced the court filing in a news conference held on the steps of the Denver District Court, where she was joined by our Colorado teammate, Zach Elsner of Wilhite, Rose, McClure & Sawaya, P.C. in Denver.
According to the Complaint, the Plaintiff, identified as John HA Doe, was sexually abused by Rev. Jerry McKenzie, a former priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, starting in 1995 when the Plaintiff was 16 years old. The abuse lasted for several years, and took place at St. Michael & All Angels Church (Denver), Camp Ilium, and a cabin near Nederland, Colorado. According to the allegations, McKenzie plied the boy and his friends with alcohol and other substances as part of the grooming and abuse.
McKenzie is believed to have been removed from ministry in 2001 following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is believed to be the first filed against the Episcopal Diocese under a new Colorado law that created a temporary window of time for survivors of child sexual abuse to file suit against entities responsible. The window remains open until 2024.
The suit also names Camp Ilium and St. Michael’s & All Angels Church (Denver) as defendants.
The Plaintiff, who still resides in the Denver area, stated, “I filed this lawsuit because the Diocese needs to be held accountable for what happened to me, and also for the others that McKenzie wronged during the course of his career as a trusted and revered religious figure. The adults who should have been protecting all of us failed us, and justice needs to be served for all of us.”
Arbour said, “we applaud Colorado lawmakers for giving our client and so many other deserving survivors of child sexual abuse the opportunity to pursue justice in a real and meaningful way. I stand in full support of John HA Doe and the other brave survivors of abuse he hopes to with this lawsuit. Adam and I are both humbled and honored to be his attorneys in this fight.”
John HA Doe v. The Bishop and Diocese of Colorado, et al (case no. 2022CV32042) is now pending in Denver District Court.
For many years our lead attorney, Adam Horowitz, has been at the forefront of exposing sexual abuse by clergy in the State of Colorado. Besides being among the first attorneys to file clergy abuse lawsuits in Colorado, Adam Horowitz fought for and won key battles on the First Amendment, statute of limitations, and discovery of priest personnel files. Along the way, Horowitz and his team have won large settlements for his clients.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures and other clergy in Colorado. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a member of the clergy in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by clergy in Colorado now have legal options, but filing deadline apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.