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Georgia jury awards rape victim Hope Cheston $1 billion in landmark verdict

June 3, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Georgia jury awards rape victim Hope Cheston $1 billion in landmark verdict Hope Cheston (Screenshot)

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A jury awarded Hope Cheston, a rape victim in Georgia $1 billion in what ‘s reported to be the largest verdict ever issued in a rape case in the U.S.

“It’s one of the biggest victories in the United States,” Chris Stewart, an attorney for Hope Cheston, said at a news conference.

“They said a black girl in Clayton County who was raped is worth $1 billion. That was a big win for us,” he stated, 11alive.com reported.

The victim was 14 years old while she was visiting a friend back in 2012 when apartment security guard Brandon Lamar Zachary assaulted her in a suburb outside of Atlanta.

A civil jury determined on Tuesday that the security company that employed the guard, Crime Prevention Agency, must pay the huge settlement because it neglected to adequately monitor their violent worker, who had a past of inappropriate behavior, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“Sexual assault is sexual assault. It’s not right, it needs to be punished,” the victim, who is now 20-years-old, said after the decision was announced.

It’s “life-changing” to know the jury recognizes her pain, she added.

“I thought it was swept under the rug and that it no longer mattered and that it is what it is,” Cheston continued.

“Come to find out that strangers feel what I went through and how I feel — after six years — is worth a billion dollars — that is life-changing, history-making,” she added.

After the assaulted, Zachary, who was working at Pointe South Apartments in Jonesboro, was found guilty of statutory rape, molesting a child and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2016.

The security company neglected to “properly supervise and monitor its officer,” according to Cheston’s suit, which was filed against the business.

The company was aware that the guard had previously acted out, but “ignored the circumstances that any reasonable person would interpret as leading to injury,” the suit said.

It also argues that the apartment complex manager failed to maintain a safe environment.

Cheston probably will not receive the full settlement — but the verdict sends a strong message, Stewart posted on Twitter.

“Want to know what a rape victim is worth? $1 billion. Record jury verdict. Juries are saying no to sexual assault and holding companies accountable!” he stated.

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