City attorney to ask for money to settle Carrier lawsuit

Tue, Nov 6, 2012


Here’s the full text of a press release from Mayor Steve Bach’s office this morning.

“On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, City Attorney Chris Melcher will propose to Colorado Springs City Council, an ordinance for a supplemental appropriation to the General Fund Administration Department in the amount of $3,400,000 for the settlement of certain litigation claims relating to Joshua Carrier.

“The City has received claims against former police officer Joshua Carrier and the City, alleging that Carrier sexually molested several children while he was acting as a volunteer and a police officer at Horace Mann Middle School. The requested supplemental appropriation is sufficient to settle these claims. The settlement finds will be apportioned among the claimants in full and final settlement of their claims against the City.

The supplemental appropriation will decrease the General Fund.”

The final sentence is a bit odd – obviously, when you take $3.4 million it will decrease the general fund – but perhaps they were a bit flustered when writing it.

Settling lawsuits is never pleasant, whether for individuals, corporations or governments. If you’re Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man (net worth: $77.5 billion) you probably don’t settle a thing, since even a $500 million hit wouldn’t affect you in the slightest.

For the rest of us, settlement is often a good option.

The facts of the Carrier case are particularly damning and particularly disturbing. Fighting multiple cases in court would be expensive, draining and unpopular. The city would not be seen as fighting the good fight, or as trying to protect taxpayer assets. It would likely be perceived far differently, as a government that cared nothing for the pain of the victims and the agony of their families.

The suits could drag on for years. And the city might well lose — and lose big.

But this is a case that was handled swiftly, appropriately and compassionately by city officials and by attorneys for all concerned. Let’s hope that Council raises no objection to the deal, and let’s hope that city officials do everything they can to ensure that nothing of the kind ever happens again.

$3.4 million is a lot of money – but, as the old saying goes “Sometimes you pay tuition, and you didn’t even know you were going to school.”



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