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Nebraska Jury Awards Dlrs 800,000 to Former Altar Boy, His Mother For Abuse By Priest

Jun 14, 2002 | AP

A jury awarded dlrs 800,000 in damages Friday to a former altar boy and his mother because a Roman Catholic priest had sexually abused the boy in the 1990s.

The Omaha Archdiocese had admitted negligence in failing to adequately supervise the Rev. Daniel Herek. The two-week civil trial was to determine the amount of damages the archdiocese would pay.

The mother and son, now 23, had been seeking a combined dlrs 4 million — dlrs 3 million for the former altar boy and dlrs 1 million for the mother.

Herek was convicted in 1998 of sexual assault of a child and making child pornography while he was at St. Richard's Catholic Church in Omaha. He served 2 1/2 years in prison before being released to a state mental health center in Lincoln.

On a 10-2 decision, the jury awarded dlrs 750,000 to the man, who as a boy was sexually abused by Herek from 1992 to 1997. His mother was awarded dlrs 50,000.

The attorney for the mother and son, who have asked that their names not be used, had argued that they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the abuse to the son when he was a boy.

An attorney for the archdiocese, William Johnson, said the mother and son suffer from mental anguish, but not post-traumatic stress disorder and therefore did not warrant an award of more than dlrs 200,000.

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