Father ordered to pay damages to boys abused by son

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Sheila, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Interesting article from http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5858899.html :

    CONROE — In an unusual twist, a Montgomery County jury ordered a father to pay punitive damages to four boys who were sexually abused by his son who is now in prison.


    The jury awarded the boys $8 million.


    Harold Newsom will have to pay 20 percent if the judgement made Wednesday is affirmed by Judge Mary Ann Turner of the Montgomery County Court at Law No. 4. His son, Jason Newsom, will be responsible for the rest.


    Jurors found Jason Newsom liable for assaulting and intentionally inflicting emotional distress on the boys and found Harold Newsom liable for endangering the boys.


    The plaintiffs' attorney, Joe Stephens, presented evidence during the eight-day trial that showed Harold Newsom, also known as Hal, knew his son molested children but did not warn the parents or tell authorities.
    In legal terms, that's negligence per se, a criminal act that placed the boys in imminent danger of death or bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment, Stephens said.


    Montgomery County District Attorney Michael McDougal could not be reached for comment.


    ''Hal had a long history and knowledge of his son's behavior and kept it secret for his own advantage," Stephens said. ''He didn't want his name destroyed."


    Hal Newsom's attorney, Judy Mingledorff, said she will file an appeal. State law says parents are not responsible for the criminal actions of an adult child, she said.


    ''All case law says that," Mingledorff said.


    The boys' families declined through their attorney to comment on the case.
    Jason Newsom's attorney, Dominick Derose, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.


    The four boys accused Jason Newsom of sexually abusing them from 2004 to 2006. Three of them were 9 years old when the abuse started and the other was 14.


    Jason Newsom, 36, of New Caney, used his wildlife reserve and hunting businesses to lure the boys and gain the trust of their parents, prosecutors said.


    Jason Newsom accepted a plea bargain and pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of sexual assault of a child in January 2007.


    He received 20 years on each charge and is serving them concurrently in the Wynne Unit in Huntsville.


    During the civil trial, Stephens told jurors that Hal Newsom knew his son was a child molester since Jason Newsom was 17. Hal Newsom's ex-wife signed a statement that accused the then-teenager of sexually abusing his stepbrothers, then 5 and 10. The couple put Jason Newsom in counseling for six months, Stephens said.


    The father later set Jason Newsom up with a petting zoo business. He also supported his son's wildlife reserve and hunting businesses and the two shared a bow fishing business, Stephens said.


    Hal Newsom saw his son with many young boys and saw him take the boys to his ranch late at night after hunting and fishing trips, Stephens told jurors.


    Mingledorff argued that her client did not have a duty to tell the victims' parents about his son's criminal activities. She also said that Jason Newsom had told the parents that he had been accused of child molestation.
     
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, I wasn't opposed to that decision until I read that the son was 30 -something. Maybe I read too quickly and missed something. If this were a teen and the parent covered for the behavior rather than try to get it dealt with and protect other kids, ok. But are they saying that a father is responsible for a grown adult's (who just happens to be his son) behavior? Did I miss something?
     
  3. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I read it to say that dad is being held responsible in part because he didn't tell the abused kids parents' that his son had a history of molestation.

    It probably looked pretty bad because reportedly the dad saw his son "take the boys to his ranch late at night after hunting and fishing trips,.." The article indicates that dad did nothing to intervene.

    Texas has mandatory reporting by anyone who suspects abuse may be going on. Whether this factors into this case, I don't know. Also, I don't know what the penalty is for failure to do so. Based on the article only, seems dad was looped into the criminal charges via some means.
     
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Oh- well if the dad has reason to think this was going on and didn't stop it, that is different. The same as if I had reason to think my neighbors were doing something harmful or illegal and didn't report it (which I don;t think they are). I guess that makes sense then.
     
  5. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I too thought it was fine if the son was underage. When I saw the son's age I thought it was ridiculous. But then it said that the father KNEW the son was taking boys back to his place. To me, if you know for a FACT that someone has a history of this, and you know that they are (for lack of a better word) collecting potential victims...yeah, you need to say something. If it was my son who was the pedophile and me not saying something resulted in children being molested, I wouldn't be able to live with myself.
     
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think setting your adult child with a history of molesting children up in a child-focused business like a petting zoo makes you part of any future molestation/abuse. Period.

    this man KNEW his son had molested his stepbrothers and THEN set him up in a petting zoo business?? He SHOULD be responsible, in my opinion. Just my opinion, but I do feel strongly that the dad should NOT have agreed to set him up in the petting zoo business. It just procures victims for him.
     
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Is Texas's mandatroy reporting law only for the usual (teachers, doctors, counselors, etc.) or does it sweep wider?
     
  8. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    The dad set those kids up as prey for the predator. He is culpable in my humble opinion.
    He didn't just not report it but he set his son up with a petting zoo.
     
  9. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    I agree. Not only did he know his son had a history of molesting, but to help him with a petting zoo and a hunting business where kids are involved? And he witnessed his son taking kids to his ranch... of course he had a duty to do what he could to stop it and he did nothing. I'd say he's guilty.
     
  10. Holliewho

    Holliewho New Member

    Honestly this man deserves every bit as much as the son to be in jail. He KNEW without a doubt because his son abused his stepsons that he was a molestor and he gave him his own "petting zoo?" He deserves to be treated as his son was JAIL TIME!
     
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