Monday, July 18, 2011

Falsely accused man awarded $852K

Not only was Mr. Ginyard awarded a judgement of over $850K, he was also awarded custody of his children. With the knowledge of just how egregious an act is needed for custody to be taken from a custodial mother, this is a rather interesting turn.

A jury found that the attention put on Mr. Ginyard after his ex-wife falsely accused him of sexually abusing their children was worth $850K. This decision came more than a year after he was awarded custody of his two girls.

In 2005, Darryl and  Amani Ginyard divorced, and entered into an agreement on custody where both parents would have equal time with the kids. Just two months into the arrangement, he was to be with the kids during Christmas, but the ex wanted the children with her. The next thing he knows, the police show up at his home, because the ex said that the children were in trouble and he was trying to take them out of town.

On Valentines day of the following year, Darryl had his oldest daughter while the ex had the youngest. It was after that visit that it was alleged that he had sexually abused his eldest daughter. Those charges were investigated and ruled unfounded. And knowing the "err on the side of caution" attitude, and what an allegation of sexual abuse of a child carries, this says something. Mr. Ginyard was accused seven more times over the next two years, with each accusation being ruled unfounded. Each time the questioning by police grew longer, and went from simple talks, to interrogations.

Custody was taken from him during these investigations, and after and allegation in 2006, he wasn't allowed to see his children for nine months. He missed another month and a half after an allegation in 2007.

To add insult to injury, in 2006, after the HR department at the bank he worked at was notified of a subpoena for  child sexual assault, Ginyard was fired.

In all, there were eight allegations made between 2006 and 2008. The first made to a therapist that Amani took the girls to see. And it is mandatory to report sexual abuse of minors that therapists are told about. The kicker? It wasn't the girls who made the claim, it was the mother. The girls however, denied that any sexual abuse ever took place.

After a two day trial in 2010, Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Harris Jr. ruled the allegations false, and that the earlier custody agreement was to be reversed, and that Darryl would have primary custody. Amani was granted visitiation. The decision was upheld by the Court of Special Appeals.

Sadly, the damage that this has done to Mr. Ginyard, it telling. He has testified that the years of false allegations has damaged the relationship with  he and his children, and that he is afraid to do simple things like hug or sit and snuggle with his girls while watching a movie. He doesn't let them spend much time in his room, and because of the way things have happened, he finds himself distancing himself from them, to try to keep himself from being in a situation that could cause another accusation.

Her attorney, Michael G. Morin, says Mr. Ginyard didn't suffer enough to get the money he was demanding, since his client didn't publicly accuse him, and makes the claim that there have been zero damage to Mr. Ginyard, except to his ego. According to Mr. Morin, being scared to hug your children is not considered damage.

The jury however, didn't agree. They awarded $2K in attorney's fees for malicious prosecution, $800K for the false accusations and attorney's fees, and $50K for punitive damages.

The hearing, according to his attorney, was his "one chance to come before a jury and tell his story and tell what the allegations of sexually abusing your two young daughters do to you," Lorraine Lawrence-Whittaker said. "She dragged him through the mud."

The wife maintains that she was simply stating her worries about sexual abuse, saying that it was based on what her daughters were telling her and their emotional behavior was during those times.