The 36-year-old victim said that a family acquaintance started abusing her when she was six years old.
A woman who claimed in her complaint that a family friend in Maine had sexually assaulted her three decades prior was granted $4.5 million in damages by a jury.
On one civil claim of assault and battery and a second count of causing mental distress, the federal jury on Thursday decided in Julia Russell, 36,’s favor.
The victim’s family was acquaintances with the defendant, Philip Chenevert, 73, of St. Augustine, Florida, who made a weekly visit. Russell claimed Chenevert mistreated her when she was around 6 years old.
Although The Associated Press typically does not identify sex crime victims, Russell gave permission for her name to be used in court documents and press articles, according to Taylor Asen, one of Russell’s attorneys.
Two additional women who became aware of the victim’s situation after reading news articles about her experience testified throughout the trial that Chenevert also mistreated them.
Along with the confirmation of Russell’s claims, Asen said the thought that two women who didn’t know Russell and had nothing to gain would testify was a nice conclusion. Asen added, “I hope that what came out of the trial would be constructive.” A criminal report had been lodged.
Chenevert vehemently denied any abuse, and his lawyer informed the jury that memories sometimes fade with time. An email sent on Friday was not immediately answered by his attorney.