May 26, 2011 (CHICAGO) — The Klest Law Firm announced a milestone victory for sexual abuse victims this week when it received a $28,000,000 verdict in the matter of Snyder v. Kenny.
The verdict represents the largest civil sexual abuse verdict in Illinois history and is among the largest in the nation.
The jury verdict was returned after about two hours of deliberation.
The jury awarded Snyder $7,000,000 in compensatory damages and $21,000,000 in punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish a wrongdoer and deter others from similar conduct.
Lawrence Snyder was 12 years old when the abuse started. Michael P. Kenny was a family friend and the abuse continued for five years, until finally Snyder ran away from home.
As a result of his abuse, he became addicted to heroin and turned to panhandling to feed his habit.
Kenny was coaching children's sports, which prompted Lawrence Snyder to file his lawsuit and prevent him from abusing again.
The lawsuit was part of his healing process and his lawyer, Joseph Klest, says the huge award is appropriate. He also noted that his client appears as if a great weight was lifted from his shoulders after the verdict was read.
Attorney Joseph Klest said he felt the large verdict was an effort by the jury to send a message to abusers and obtain the maximum publicity for the issue of sexual abuse of children.
Attorney Klest feels strongly about this issue, having worked on clergy abuse cases, and is willing to speak with anyone who has been sexually abused as a child. Contact his firm at: 866-264-7639.