Mormon church to pay out $2.3 BILLION to California woman in sex abuse case

The Riverside Superior Court ordered the plaintiff $836 million in damages and $1.44 billion in punitive damages.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
A 39-year-old woman who was sexually abused by her stepfather for years as a child has been awarded $2.28 billion by the Riverside Superior Court in a criminal case that also named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Los Angeles Times reports.

According to court documents, the woman who is referred to as "Jane Doe" was sexually abused by her stepfather from the ages of 5 to 14, and named her mother as complicit. The assaults, which led to the plaintiff to be "on the brink of suicide," occurred at their family home on Lake Elsinore and at their local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints property, the lawsuit said.

Court documents state that Jane Doe reported the sexual abuse to both her mother and church officials, including local bishops. The church retaliated against her by using "shaming and intimidation tactics" to silence her from telling authorities outside the church. Church officials refused to report the allegations because it was in violation of policy, according to the suit, AP reports.

In 1997, the stepfather was arrested after Jane Doe noticed that he was staring at girls "inappropriately" on her basketball team, which led to her striking the courage to disclose the abuse to her coach who then reported the abuse to authorities.

According to the lawsuit, her stepfather pleaded guilty to committing lewd acts with a child under age 14 and spent three years in state prison.

The church, who was also named in the lawsuit, denied any wrongdoing but settled for $1 million in December. Jane Doe's mother settled for $200,000 in February, according to AP.

The Riverside Superior Court ordered the plaintiff $836 million in damages and $1.44 billion in punitive damages on Tuesday.

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