Our client suffered unimaginable trauma during her youth, and she still suffers adverse consequences of her step-father’s despicable acts. I’m proud of her for standing up for her rights and fighting for justice.
Charleston, S.C. (PRWEB) November 22, 2011
A Berkeley County court has awarded $14 million to a woman who accused her stepfather of sexually abusing and molesting her when she was a child – one of the largest trial verdicts in South Carolina history for a child molestation case, according to the plaintiff’s Charleston attorney, Joseph P. Griffith, Jr.
“The award cannot replace the childhood and innocence that our client lost,” said Griffith, a former federal prosecutor whose Charleston law firm handles civil and criminal litigation in state and federal courts throughout South Carolina, including personal injury and sexual harassment and assault cases.
He was assisted in the case by a fellow Charleston attorney, Jerry N. Theos.
“Our client suffered unimaginable trauma during her youth, and she still suffers adverse consequences of her step-father’s despicable acts,” Griffith said. “I’m proud of her for standing up for her rights and fighting for justice.
“She was truly inspirational in court, and, hopefully, her courage will inspire other victims to speak out and fight against child molesters.”
According to the lawsuit, the stepfather pled guilty to criminal charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature by taking indecent liberties with the plaintiff. He received a six-year sentence, which was suspended upon two years’ probation.
The plaintiff asserted claims for sexual assault, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress (sometimes called the tort of “outrage”) and gross negligence.
Circuit Court Judge Stephanie McDonald announced the verdict November 15 following a non-jury trial in the Berkeley County Court of Common Pleas. (Case No. 2009-CP-08-3509). The amount includes $7,162,145 in actual damages for past and future pain and suffering, past and future mental anguish and future medical expenses.
The court also awarded the plaintiff $7 million in punitive damages after finding that the damages were justified under the factors set out in the 1991 South Carolina Supreme Court decision in Gamble v. Stevenson (305 S.C. 104).
Punitive damages are awarded to punish and deter a defendant and others from engaging in the type of conduct that gives rise to a lawsuit.
Griffith warned all parents and care-givers to be extra vigilant against child sexual predators, citing this case and recent, highly publicized allegations of child sexual abuse involving a former Citadel camp counselor and a Penn State assistant football coach as examples.
“Child sexual molestations are a nationwide problem,” Griffith said. “Hopefully, the court’s award to our client will act to deter future potential child sex predators by showing them that their pocketbook will be affected as well as their liberty.”
About The Joe Griffith Law Firm, LLC
The Joe Griffith Law Firm, LLC, offers legal assistance to South Carolina residents in a wide variety of personal injury, white collar criminal defense, and business litigation matters. The law firm maintains offices in Mount Pleasant and Charleston, South Carolina. The firm’s attorneys have more than 35 years of legal experience in federal and state court. For more information, contact the Joe Griffith Law Firm, LLC toll-free at (866) 386-6460 or use the firm’s online contact form.