Tag Archives: Sexual Abuse

Priest’s victim still trying to collect $100M judgment (access required)

After more than two years of trying to get what a South Carolina trial court judge says he’s owed for his suffering, Allan C. Ranta still hasn’t collected one dime of a whopping $100 million civil judgment against the priest who raped him as a boy. And chances are he won’t ever see that money, unless he and his attorneys can convince the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse itself and do something that it has never done before: rule that a liability insurance policy covers acts of sexual abuse. Ranta’s argument has fallen flat so far at the 4th Circuit, which on July 24 upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Catholic Mutual insurance company was not on the hook for the actions of defrocked and disgraced priest Wayland Y. Brown (pictured).

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Abuse victim gets second shot at justice   (access required)

When Kelly Waldron Bowles, 27, finally decided in 2002 to report years of sexual abuse at the hands of her former stepfather, a Dorchester County grand jury indicted Donald A. Baxter with second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and committing a lewd act upon a child. Baxter eventually pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of aggravated assault and battery by taking indecent liberties with a minor, and was sentenced to six years in prison, reduced to two years probation. He did no jail time. But in the civil suit that followed eight years later, it took Berkeley County Court of Common Pleas Judge Stephanie McDonald just one day to find for the victim. On November 15, McDonald awarded Bowles $14 million in damages on her claims of sexual assault, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and gross negligence. “The award cannot replace the childhood and innocence that Kelly lost,” said her attorney, Joseph P. Griffith Jr. of Charleston (pictured).

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Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Enhancement – Prior Conviction – Sexual Abuse (access required)

U.S. v. Spence The 4th Circuit upholds an enhanced sentence for a defendant convicted of possession of child pornography, based on his prior conviction under S.C. common law for “assault and battery of a high aggravated nature”; the district court did not err in holding that the prior conviction qualified as a predicate offense under the sexual abuse enhancement under 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(b)(2).

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