Jury awards $35M to victim of sex abuse
Sam Hemingway, Free Press Staff Writer 12:13 p.m. EDT April 23, 2014
A Vermont jury has ordered Scott Isaacson, 56, of Hyannis, Mass., to pay $35 million in damages to a 24-year-old woman he is accused of repeatedly molesting in Vermont and elsewhere when she was a young girl.
The decision by the 12-person jury was reached after three hours of deliberation on Friday following a four-day trial at Chittenden County Superior Court in Burlington. It is believed to be one of the largest jury verdicts the court has ever issued.
The Burlington Free Press does not publish the names of alleged victims of sexual abuse without their permission. The woman’s lawyer, Jerome O’Neill, said it was unlikely his client will recover much in monetary damages but the jury verdict was still important.
“Scott Isaacson’s six-year sexual abuse of this child and the destruction he brought upon her make it easy to understand the jury’s verdict,” O’Neill said in a statement Tuesday. “He denies to this day having molested her despite the overwhelming evidence that he regularly abused her for years.”
According to court records, Isaacson sexually assaulted the girl at locations in Massachusetts and during ski trips to Vermont in the 1990s when she was between 3 and 8 years old. The abuse stopped after she spoke to a doctor about the molestation.
Isaacson was found guilty in a Massachusetts court in 2000 of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and served four years in prison, records show.
The alleged victim, her mother and two brothers testified at the civil trial in Burlington, O’Neill said.
“I … still suffer from the abuse,” the woman said in an affidavit filed with the Burlington court. “I have flashbacks of the abuse. I suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Isaacson represented himself during the civil trial and testified in his own defense. Isaacson told the Associated Press afterward that he was wrongly convicted in criminal court and plans to appeal the civil court verdict in Vermont.
The Burlington Free Press was unable to reach Isaacson for comment Tuesday. Isaacson, in court documents, said he works at a coffee house and lives in a home with other people in Hyannis.
A Free Press review of the addresses he provided the court for his work and home found that both properties are owned by members of the Twelve Tribes religious sect.
A man answering a telephone call Tuesday at the Twelve Tribes-owned Common Ground Cafe in Hyannis said no one named Isaacson worked at the business.
“I’m pretty sure I’d know if we had someone by that name,” the man, who identified himself as Nick Jacobs, told the Burlington Free Press.
Contact Sam Hemingway at 660-1850 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Sam on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SamuelHemingway.
More links on this story: Lawyer: Convicted abuser dodging payment (hiding in the 12 T.)