Woman Assaulted By Local Pastor Asks SUPCO To Uphold Damage Award
A woman sexually assaulted by the pastor of Delaware Grace Brethren Church when she was 15-years-old is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to boost the amount of damages paid by the church. Attorneys for the woman and her father say a state law limiting noneconomic damages to 350 thousand dollars violates the constitutional rights of underage victims of sexual assault. They argue sexual abuse is typically more emotionally damaging than physical injury and sexually abused minors often spend years dealing with the trauma. Church attorneys argue the limits create a fairer and predictable civil justice system, and distinguishing between sexual abuse and physical injury is not arbitrary or unreasonable. In 2013, a jury ordered the church to pay the woman more than 3 million dollars. The jury found the church was negligent for allowing pastor Brian Williams to start another church, despite knowing about past sexual abuse complaints. Jurors sided with the victim, who said Williams should not have been allowed to continue his ministry.