Delaware Supreme Court Again Refuses to Protect Sexual Abusers

In the case of Jane Doe v. The State of Delaware, No. 447,2012 (Del. Supreme, September 12, 2013), the Delaware Supreme Court again refused to protect sexual abusers and the institutions who employ them.

Here it was the Delaware State Police whose state trooper employee allegedly forced a female he had arrested to perform oral sex on him in exhange for not prosecuting her for allegedly shoplifting.

In such cases against employers and the Roman Catholic Church in Delaware trial judges have exonerated employers in similar cases claiming that the employer can never be responsible for the actions of such employees under any legal principles.

However, the Supreme Court has now declared that such a miserly reading of the law is wrong.  Instead, for many reasons an employer can be held responsible for the actions of such employees. 

Significantly, the Court declared that is is solely the power of citizen juries to decide whether such employers are liable for the injuries suffered by sexual abuse victims, and notthe province of  a judge.

The Supreme Court in my earlier 2011 case of  Sheehan v. Oblates, 15 A.3d 1247 (Del. Supr. 2011)(en banc), again held sexual abuser institutions responsible for the sexual abuse of their employees, despite rulings at trial which were for the employer.  Sheehan is discussed in detail in chapter 3 of my book When Priests Become Predators (2012).

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