A South Carolina Circuit Court judge has awarded a 27-year-old woman more than $14 million in civil damages in a suit brought against a former stepfather who sexually abused her as a child. The woman, Kelly Waldron Bowles, chose to go public with the case because “she wanted people to know what he did and she didn’t want him to get away with what he had done,” according to her lawyer, Joseph Griffith of Charleston. He added that his client “chose not to go the `Jane Doe’ route,” which was available to her.
Circuit Judge Stephanie McDonald ordered Donald Baxter to pay $7 million in punitive damages and slightly more than $7 million in compensatory damages following a trial in Berkeley County’s Court of Common Pleas. Judge McDonald found Baxter had committed sexual assault, sexual battery and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the victim. Baxter pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and battery in 2003 and was sentenced to six years in prison, but he was allowed to serve two years of probation. Ms. Bowles said she pursued the civil case because she believed the 2003 sentence to be too lenient. Ms. Bowles testified in court how she had been molested repeatedly over a ten-year period.
Source: Insurance Journal
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