A Georgia jury awarded a woman $1 billion this week after an armed security guard raped her in 2012, when she was just 14, as reported by Fox News.
Hope Cheston was near some picnic tables with her boyfriend in October, 2012, when she was approached by apartment security guard Brandon Lamar Zachary, 20, at the time of the assault. Zachary held a gun on her unidentified boyfriend as he sexually assaulted Cheston. The former security guard was convicted of statutory rape and is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence, jail records show.
The victim’s mother, Renatta Cheston-Thornton, filed a lawsuit against the security company that employed Zachary in 2015, being as how her daughter was still a minor. That lawsuit reached a conclusion on Wednesday when an Atlanta jury awarded the family the $1 billion settlement.
Cheston spoke to Fox News and discussed the jury’s decision.
“I feel like my case is just to show that you may not get it immediately, but you will get what you’re worth,” she said. “This shows that people do care about the worth of a woman.”
Jeff Dion, director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, stated that he had never seen a jury award such a high amount to one victim, according to an email sent to The Seattle Times.
“This jury was clearly trying to send a message about bad conduct on the part of the company,” he said.
Hope is currently a full-time college student and plans on spending her summer helping homeless people. Crime Prevention Agency, the company that employed Zachary, is expected to appeal the verdict.
[Featured Image: NBC Nightly News/Screenshot/Fulton County Sheriff’s Department]