Jury Verdict of $65 Million Awarded to Woman Abused by YMCA Counselor

Attorney Amy C. Keller, of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, recently obtained a $65 million jury verdict for her client, who was sexually abused as a child by a former YMCA counselor.

In a front-page story, The Buffalo News reported that the $65 million award is the third significant jury verdict Ms. Keller has obtained this year, on behalf of her clients who were victims of childhood sexual abuse. In recent months, Ms. Keller has also obtained a $30 million jury verdict on behalf of a client abused by a Lutheran pastor and a $25 million jury verdict on behalf of a client abused by a former Boy Scout leader. All three cases were reported as the largest award obtained in Western New York for a case filed under the Child Victims Act, at the time the verdicts were rendered.

In this case, a Child Victims Act lawsuit was filed against James B. Jackson. Jackson worked as a counselor for the YMCA in Buffalo, NY. While working at the YMCA, the defendant met, groomed, and abused the plaintiff in this case over a significant period of time.

To maintain privacy, the plaintiff in this case was identified as “LG 46 Doe” in court filings. LG 46 Doe, a 37-year-old woman, testified in State Supreme Court regarding the abuse she endured as a child. LG 46 Doe began attending programs at the YMCA when she was 4 or 5 years old. The defendant sexually abused the plaintiff on an almost daily basis from when she was 7 or 8 years old to the age of 15.

A licensed clinical social worker testified at the trial that the victim in this case experienced a “trauma bond” with the abuser, a phenomenon whereby an abuser grooms a victim and gets them to feel as if they are being cared for, even as the abuse is happening.

When asked for comment on this case, Amy C. Keller stated “the verdict was significant, but I think it symbolizes how profound the abuse was and how much it really did impact her.” Ms. Keller went on to say that her client hopes that telling a jury of her peers what happened would bring her closure and help her heal emotionally.

The jury, which heard this case in New York State Supreme Court, awarded $20 million for pain and suffering, an additional $20 million for future pain and suffering, as well as $25 million in punitive damages. In a separate ongoing lawsuit, LG 46 Doe is suing the YMCA Buffalo Niagara.

Click here for The Buffalo News’ full story on this case. If you have questions about the Child Victims Act, click here to contact attorney Amy C. Keller.