Survivor of child rape takes back her voice as judgement is awarded
Editor's note: This article was updated on March 21, 2017, to correct that the victim received a $2.6 million judgement.
PITTSFIELD — Though she may never see a dime of the $2.6 million judgement awarded to her, a child rape survivor is still "ecstatic" about the ruling, according to her attorney.
On March 9, Judge John Agostini awarded the damages to a 28-year-old woman, identified in court documents as "Jane Doe," as the result of a civil suit brought against her attacker, Darrell R. Croshier Jr.
Croshier, who pleaded guilty in June 1998 to five counts of rape and abuse of a child, three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and one count of assault with the intent to rape, was sentenced to four years in prison, followed by eight years of probation.
The assaults began when Doe was 5 and continued until she was 9, according to her attorney, Robert A. DiTusa.
DiTusa said as Doe got older, she began to have a lot of questions about why the assaults happened. DiTusa said she remembers the rapes, but didn't have much to say in the criminal process due to her age.
"This was a way for her to get results," DiTusa said. "To give a voice to that 9-year-old child that was not heard."
He said the size of the award made Doe feel that the judge really listened to her.
DiTusa said the original complaint did not specify any amount of damages, but during the February hearing, he did make Agostini aware of the amount of damages awarded in similar cases.
Doe testified for about two hours during that hearing, DiTusa said.
Because there is not insurance involved in the case, DiTusa said the chances are slim that Doe will see much, if any, of the awarded damages, but it was still important to pursue the case in an effort to take back some control of her life, he said.
Doe was able to bring the claim due to a 2014 change in Massachusetts law which allows a victim of sexual abuse until the age of 53 to bring a civil suit against their attacker.
In his decision, Agostini said Croshier repeatedly raped and abused Doe as well as psychologically abused and terrorized her.
Agostini found Doe suffered significant physical and psychological injuries as a result of the abuse including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, insomnia and requires "considerable" medications.
"Her ability to have substantial personal relationships is greatly compromised and her self-esteem is minimal," Agostini wrote in his decision. "For a considerable period of time she has been lost, confused and essentially disoriented."
"However," he wrote, "there is a real sense of optimism that [Doe] can overcome some, if not all, of her present problems."
Doe felt, "my community listened to me," DiTusa said.
Croshier did not appear nor participate in the civil hearing, according to court files.
Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.
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