Saturday, September 25, 2010
BY MATT MILLER firstname.lastname@example.org
A legal battle is raging over a Dauphin County judge's award of $2.8 million in damages to a woman who as a teen was sexually assaulted by a former country music radio personality.
President Judge Todd A. Hoover issued the damage award in ruling on a lawsuit the woman filed against Paul E. "Ted" Reinhart Jr., 80, formerly of Huntingdon County, who is serving a 15-year federal prison term for taking an underage girl across state lines for sexual purposes.
Reinhart, who had a syndicated radio show with his wife, Ruth, for more than 40 years on WHUN-AM and WQHG-FM in Huntingdon, is contesting Hoover's ruling, claiming the award is unjustified and that his legal rights are being trampled.
The Dauphin County case is an example of what some studies show is a steadily rising number of lawsuits being filed nationwide by sexual assault victims seeking financial compensation from their attackers.
"The reason to file suit that I hear most often from victims and survivors is to prevent the offender from being able to victimize more individuals," said Diane Moyer, the legal director for the West Shore-based Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
"When a victim/survivor does prevail in a civil case, it is a victory for all victims and survivors and the rape crisis center programs that provide services to them," Moyer said. "It demonstrates in a very tangible way that victims are telling the truth and that justice can prevail."