A female model dated an acquaintance. They had dinner and after-dinner conversation. The male acquaintance then started making advances of a sexual nature and the female model refused.
The male acquaintance got angry at being refused. He pulled out a five inch knife and threatened to cut the female model’s face. The female model became fearful not only for her life but also for her future as her face is something of a business asset from which she derived her living.
The male acquaintance raped and sodomized her for two hours. He cut up her clothes and also cut her up in her arms and legs during that time. The female model was hospitalized. She was traumatized and suffered anguish and emotional distress. She underwent therapy for her to deal with the fears, the nightmares and the depression which resulted from the rape.
The male acquaintance was charged with intentional sexual assault, battery, and infliction of emotional distress. He was found guilty by a jury verdict in November 18, 1987 of rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree and sexual abuse in the first degree. He was sentenced to serve a prison term of three to nine years.
The case was then transferred to another court for assessment of damages. Later, in 1989, the female model initiated a civil complaint for damages against the male acquaintance. A hearing was conducted to determine the amount of damages and both the female model and the male acquaintance testified.
The court awarded the female model the amount of $170,495.00 in compensatory damages which was broken down into $1995 in medical and hospitalization bills, $68,500.00 for loss of income during her confinement and recuperation and $100,000 for the pain and suffering she endured. She was also awarded punitive damages in the amount of $200,000.00.
The question before this Court is whether or not punitive damages was properly awarded by the court to the female model in the civil suit she filed after the male acquaintance was found guilty of rape.
The Court ruled that the award of punitive damages was proper. Punitive damages are awarded to victims of crimes where fraud, oppression, wantonness, insult and malice are present. The objective of an award for punitive damages is to make an example and to refrain all others who may be similarly minded to act in the same way.
In cases of date or acquaintance rape, an award for punitive damages has been sustained when there was proof of utterly reckless behavior and an obviously malicious intent to injure the rape victim. Rape is an act of violence against a woman. In cases where the rape was committed by an acquaintance or a date, there is a betrayal of trust between the female model and her male acquaintance. By threatening the female model and by cutting her up and raping her, his intent of inflicting emotional distress was evident. The female model’s physical, sexual, emotional and psychological dignity and integrity was attacked, intruded upon and injured.
There is also a public policy consideration in awarding punitive damages: by awarding punitive damages, the criminal is told that society will not tolerate any breach of its order; that when a woman says no and refuses a man’s sexual advances; she is entitled to be believed and her choice is entitled to respect.
Perhaps you are like the woman in this case and you were a victim of a date rape, or other sex crimes. The criminal case you filed against your rapist will ensure that he pays for violating the law. A New York Rape Lawyer from Stephen Bilkis and Associates will tell you that the rapist also has to pay for what he has done to you personally. A New York City Rape Lawyer will assure you that you are well within your rights to claim compensation for the medical expenses you incurred as a result of the rape. Come and visit Stephen Bilkis and Associates today and speak with any of their NY Rape attorneys who are willing to represent you.