Judge Orders North Little Rock Mental Health Facility to Pay $2.5 Million in Teen Rape Case
A horrific say has a small amount of Justice on your Monday, as The BridgeWay mental-health hospital has admitted it wronged a 14-year-old patient who was raped by one of its workers.
The institution was ordered on Thursday to pay her $2.5 million by a Pulaski County jury following a three-day trail before Circuit Judge Herb Wright.
The victim in this case is now 19, and the money will go into a trust fund overseen by a guardian and established to pay for her ongoing treatment, care, and counseling.
Her attorney had asked for about 10 times that amount, $25.2 million, with $2.2 million – representing about 10 years of mental health counseling and alcohol abuse services that they claim she needs.
The suit was for compensation over her pain, suffering, mental anguish, and costs of her care and treatment.
The jurors said that BridgeWay should pay $23 million more to punish the North Little Rock hospital for what happened to her, but jurors didn’t see it that way.
The woman’s lawyer, Katresa Riffel of Oklahoma, told jurors the behavioral health facility was negligent for hiring her attacker, labeling as “unexplainable” the hiring of a man BridgeWay administrators, among them its then CEO Jason Miller, knew was on the state’s Child Maltreatment Central Registry over accusations he’d molested a child at another hospital.
“If [he’s] on the registry, why hire him?” she asked the six men and six women on the panel. “That should have been the end of this right here. The purpose of the registry is to avoid this entire situation.”
The registry is a secret list maintained by the State Department of Human Services as an inventory of suspected child abusers and used to prevent them from adopting or fostering children as well as restricting or limiting their opportunities for employment at schools, day care centers, hospitals, and nursing homes.
The attorneys argued that BridgeWay made the mistake greater by the way they treated the teen after discovering what had happened to her, subjecting her to an inquiry by senior staff that left the woman feeling “dirty and ashamed.”
The teen had came to the hospital at a pivotal time in her life marked by drug addition and was encouraged by her mother to go to fight the additions of drugs and alcohol abuse.
You can read more from our friends at The Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
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