$95 Million Sexual Harassment Award

     EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (CN) – A federal jury has awarded $95 million to a 20-year-old employee who said sexual harassment at Aaron Rents culminated when the store’s general manager threw her down, lifted her shirt and masturbated on her.

     The woman claimed the store’s general manage, Richard Moore threw her down, lifted her shirt and masturbated over her on Oct. 12, 2006.
     She said the assault capped a year of escalating sexual harassment that included Moore groping her and hitting her in the back of the head with his penis.
     She says she called a harassment hotline in May 2006, but an investigator never contacted her. She said one of Moore’s supervisors confronted her in front of him, then warned Moore to “watch his back” because of the complaint.
     Jurors found that Moore had assaulted and battered the woman and that Aaron Rents had failed to supervise him, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The jury awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages.
     Aaron Rents said it will appeal the award, claiming it is $50 million more than the cap set by state law.
     “We feel strongly that this verdict is the result of a decision made by a classic runaway jury, and because of that we are confident that the damages will be greatly reduced,” Chad Strickland, vice president of Associate Resources for Aaron’s said in a statement.
     Moore was arrested after the Oct. 12 incident and criminal charges are pending, the Post-Dispatch reported.

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