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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

$6 Million Judgment Upheld in Sex Abuse Case

(CN) - A Kentucky man was properly ordered to pay $6 million in punitive damage for sexually abusing his step-granddaughter.

R.O. was indicted in 2007 on four counts of first-degree sodomy. He was convicted of inappropriately touching his 11-year-old step-granddaughter, A.C., and forcing her to perform oral sex on him.

He pleaded guilty in 2008 to four amended counts of sexual misconduct and was sent to jail for 12 months.

A.C. and her mother sued R.O. in 2009 for causing the girl severe emotional and physical harm through a deviate sexual relationship.

A.C. testified that R.O. abused her several times a week for a substantial amount of time.

Social worker Angela Green testified that A.C. suffered symptoms of having been sexually assaulted, such as assaultive and self-harming behavior, suicide attempts and promiscuity.

Clinical therapist Ali Winters testified that A.C. also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, displaying symptoms such as flashbacks, self-mutilation, nightmares and exaggerated startle response.

The court ruled in A.C.'s favor, ordering R.O. to pay $41,238 in medical costs, $2 million for emotional distress and $6 million in punitive damages.

R.O. challenged the punitive damages award, but the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that it was not excessive.

"If the commonwealth had proceeded to trial and R.O. had been found guilty of first-degree sodomy, he could have been sentenced to at least 20, but not more than 50 years, or for life, on each count," Judge Glenn Acree wrote on the court's behalf.

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