FORT WORTH -- A 57-year-old Fort Worth man already serving 15 years in prison for the sexual assault of an underage relative has now been ordered to pay his victim $1.75 million in a civil judgment issued Monday.
Rafael Guzman was sentenced to prison in November 2009 after being convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child by threat.
The next month, the victim's mother sued Guzman, on her own and on her daughter's behalf, seeking damages for Guzman's sexually assaulting the girl over four years beginning when she was 10, at his home and at his sister's home.
The lawsuit also named Guzman's sister as a defendant, saying the woman had "actual and/or constructive knowledge of the assaults and allowed them to continue at her home."
Never miss a local story.
After a civil trial that began Oct. 13 in Tarrant County's 67th District Court, the court found that Guzman's sister had no knowledge that her brother was assaulting the girl or using her house for that purpose.
State District Judge Donald J. Cosby did, however, rule Monday that the victim was entitled to $1.75 million from Guzman for past and future medical and counseling services, past and future emotional distress and mental anguish, and exemplary damages.
The victim's mother was awarded $25,000 from Guzman for past medical and counseling services related to the care of her daughter.
Brian Butcher of the Noteboom Law Firm said his clients realize that unless the imprisoned Guzman "wins a lottery," they will never receive the full compensation.
He said the judge, however, ordered Guzman's sister, who has power of attorney for her brother, to hand over money in her possession from Guzman's pension fund.
"However much, it will at least be something the plaintiff gets," Butcher said.
Butcher said the case wasn't just about the money but "about having some vindication through the civil system."
"I think the judgment sends a message that defendants who commit acts of wrongdoing against kids have to be responsible not only in the criminal system but also the civil system," he said.
Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655