Posted on 01 Sep 2009
In a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the victims' family, two teenage sisters have been awarded $11 million in a case against a prominent New York pediatrician who failed to take steps to prevent the girls from being repeatedly sexually assaulted by their half-brother when they were children.
A jury in U.S. District Court ruled against Dr. Patricia Monroe and her workplace, Adirondack Internal Medicine and Pediatric, ending a federal case rooted in horrific abuse dating back more than nine years.
The older sister, now 18, will receive $6 million, the 16-year-old younger sister $5 million, according to a news release issued by Albany attorneys Pamela Nichols and Stephen Coffey, who represented the victims. He noted they were "never offered a dime" to the settle the case, which dates to 2002.
The news release said the jury of four men and four women found Monroe and her medical group were "negligent in their care and treatment of the children when they failed to take the proper measures to investigate a situation which would have prevented the girls from being sexually assaulted by their half brother."
The series of events leading to the suit began as follows, according to interviews with attorneys and documents filed in the case:
On Aug. 15, 2000, one of the sisters, then 9, showed her mother a diary and asked her to read it.
The girl had written that she was "sad all the time because I've been touched in places I don't want to be touched."
She disclosed that her half-brother, then 14, had inappropriately touched her at least three times.
The next day, Aug. 16, 2000, the mother called Monroe, informed her of the abuse, and that the brother was living with the victim and the other sister. The doctor only suggested the victim and boy be separated.
The doctor examined the older daughter that September for a sore throat – yet never asked about the reported abuse.
Monroe examined the child again that October, again not inquiring about the abuse. But police were unaware of the rape and sodomy of both girls, then ages 8 and 9, until February 2001.
The lawsuit was filed by the victims' family. It had targeted Monroe and others, including a school, rape crisis center and county mental health office, but the cases against the other defendants were dismissed. The suit against Monroe was dismissed as well, but that ruling was reversed by a U.S. Court of Appeals court.