April 14, 2005

Two brothers receive nearly $2 million in church abuse case

San Luis Obispo Tribune

Associated Press

HAYWARD, Calif. - Despite receiving far less money than they sought for the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of a priest more than two decades ago, brothers Bob and Tom Thatcher were pleased with the jury's verdict.

The Thatchers were awarded nearly $2 million in damages by a jury Wednesday in a case that was closely watched because it was the first in a series of sex-abuse lawsuits to seek punitive damages.

"We exposed a lot of wrongdoing," Tom Thatcher said. "The church was called despicable on the record. They say they have changed their ways and I hope they have."

Bob Thatcher, 34, was awarded $875,000 in compensatory damages and $875,000 in punitive damages. Tom, 33, was awarded $180,000 in compensatory damages and no punitive damages were sought in his case.

While the total award of $1.93 million was far less than the $27 million plaintiffs attorney Rick Simons asked for in closing arguments, he said he was pleased the jury ruled that the Oakland Diocese acted with malice and awarded punitive damages.

Posted by kshaw at April 14, 2005 05:56 AM