Rapist pastor protected by Ohio’s damage cap


Andrew Wolfson , @adwolfson December 24, 2016

Raped by her pastor during a counseling session near Columbus, Ohio, a 15-year-old girl and her family sued him and the church for retaining him, despite two previous claims he’d committed sexual misconduct with teenage girls.

A jury awarded them $3.5 million, to compensate for her trauma. But it was reduced to only $250,000 in damages under an Ohio law that limits recoveries to that amount for pain and suffering and other so-called non-economic damages.

In a bitter, divided opinion, Ohio’s high court this month upheld the reduction, rejecting the argument that child sex abuse victims often require a lifetime of psychiatric care.

The majority refused to carve out an exception to the state’s 11-year-old law, passed by Ohio’s legislature to provide “a fair, predictable system of civil justice that preserves the rights of injured parties while curbing frivolous lawsuits, which increase the costs of doing business, threaten Ohio jobs, drive up consumer costs, and may hinder innovation.”

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