Rape Victim Still Waiting For State Damage Award
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 4, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA--Last June, Governor Jeb Bush signed a measure authorizing the state to pay $8 million to a Florida woman who was raped while in state custody. Six months later, not one penny has been paid, the Associated Press reported Monday.
The victim was 21 years of age and living in Schenck Group Home at Force Pierce when she was raped in 1991. Even though officials learned of the assault, she continued to live near the rapist -- the 16-year-old son of the home's operator -- for three months after the rape.
Her rapist was eventually convicted.
The woman's parents sued the state Department of Children & Families, which had approved and monitored the group home. Two years ago, a jury ordered the agency to pay $8 million to the woman and her family. Earlier this year the legislature authorized the award which the governor signed June 5.
Under the legal arrangement, the state was to make 10 annual payments of $76,000 to an annuity company, which would then make payments to the woman.
But the woman's attorney said Monday that the state comptroller's office wouldn't agree to a contract with a company to handle the annuity. The attorney filed an emergency motion in state court asking that the state be ordered to pay.
An official with the comptroller's office said they want to pay the woman, but that there are problems that still need to be worked out.