After the man “broke up” with the minor (our client), she reported the incident to her father. The sexton was charged and convicted of statutory sexual assault and ordered to serve a probationary period of 7 years.
The civil lawsuit against the church alleged that the Church failed to properly screen him before hiring him. If they had done so, prior employers would have indicated that he was unreliable. Instead, because no background investigation was performed, he was given all the keys to the church premises and allowed 24 hour per day access to attend to emergencies.
Further, the sexton regularly brought his adult girlfriend onto the premises and he had engaged in sexual acts with her on several occasions on the premises.
Baratta, Russell & Baratta ( BRB) alleged that this proved the Church failed to properly supervise the sexton thereby causing his use of the premises for his own whims knowing there would be no repercussions. BRB engaged nationally renowned security expert, Norman Bates, to establish it’s improper hiring, improper security and failure to supervise case against the church.
Our client engaged in numerous self harming behaviors, such as cutting and engaging in numerous sexual relations with older men who were strangers, after revealing the broken relationship. She underwent extensive in-patient and out-patient psychological treatment and was eventually placed into a group home.
BRB was prepared to present the testimony of rape trauma expert, Ann Burgess, to testify that the sexual relationship with the sexton caused the self harming behaviors, including the risky sexual acting out with strangers.
Complicating the causation testimony of Ann Burgess was the fact that the Minor’s mother was a prostitute who had been convicted and sentenced to jail in the months before the sexual contact with the sexton for luring johns to motel rooms with the promise of sex only to have a co-conspirator break entry into the room to rob the john.
The case resolved after a lengthy court ordered settlement conference.
Attorney – Anthony J. Baratta of Baratta, Russell & Baratta