DOVER, Delaware (AP) – A woman who said her father, a former pastor of a Delaware church, sexually assaulted her as a child and trafficked her with other men, received 1.5 million dollars by a federal jury on Friday.
Alicia Cohen, 41, said in her civil lawsuit that Ronald Cohen began sexually abusing her at the age of three at the family home in Newark, then began selling her to other men for relationships sex about two years later while living in Oklahoma. .
She also said her father filmed and sold videos of her being raped and used her “religious facade” and “ministries,” including the non-denominational Miracle Tabernacle, as a cover for sexual abuse. on children and child sex trafficking.
Ronald Cohen, who also used the names “Rafi” and “Raphael”, denied the allegations as “false, frivolous and defamatory”.
“Ron was shocked at the verdict,” defense attorney Dan Boyce said on Friday. Boyce said Cohen asked him to file a motion for judgment in his favor, despite the jury’s verdict, or a motion for a new trial.
He also said Cohen, who now lives in North Carolina, is 70 years old and dependent on Social Security, and is “judgmental” on the basis of his finances.
Alicia Cohen’s attorney Dan Stephenson said the case was not about money, but about Ronald Cohen’s accountability.
“The central question in the case was whether the accused repeatedly raped his daughter for years as a child. The jury clearly said ‘yes’ and awarded both compensatory and punitive damages, ”Stephenson said in an email.
Alicia Cohen has suppressed memories of her abuse for years, according to the lawsuit.
“As a result of the actions of the defendant, the plaintiff suffered extreme mental, physical, psychological and emotional trauma,” says the lawsuit. “She has spent a tremendous amount of time and money seeing doctors, psychiatrists, counselors and other therapists.”
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they have been sexually abused, unless they are made public, as Alicia Cohen did.
The seven-member jury found Ronald Cohen responsible, on a preponderance of evidence, for various offenses under Delaware law, including incest, sexual extortion and continued child sexual abuse. They also found him responsible under Delaware law for bodily harm, emotional distress and forcible confinement.
But the jury ruled in favor of Ronald Cohen regarding the allegations of human trafficking under federal law and the laws of the states of Delaware, New Jersey and Florida. They also ruled in his favor regarding various other alleged offenses under federal, Florida and New Jersey laws.
“There was no direct or circumstantial evidence to support her claims,” Boyce said, adding that the complainant’s case relied on experts who “speculated” that she had certain characteristics of her. ” have been sexually assaulted.
Boyce also said the judge refused to allow an expert defense witness to give his opinion that Alicia Cohen’s memories of 30 years ago were false.
Stephenson, Alicia Cohen’s lawyer, dismissed the idea that this was a “he said she said” case.
“We have brought a mountain of evidence, including objective, medical and admitted facts,” he said. “We had healers, healer records, and expert witnesses supporting what Alicia said.”