On August 13, 2018 an Alachua County jury awarded, our brave client, Rebekka Trahan, more than $4.6 million for what she said was more than a decade-and-a-half’s worth of mistreatment.
As outlined in our complaint, Trahan was molested by her father from the time she was 8 years old until she left her parent’s home at 24. The filing alleges that Trahan’s older brother, Scott F. Mulholland, also abused her from the time she was 13 years old until her departure.
Trahan’s lawsuit names her mother as a defendant as well, accusing her of negligence in failing in her “duty to act to prevent that harm from occurring, but … instead remaining silent and complicit in the abuse.” One of the examples listed alleges that Trahan was prohibited from having “a lock on her bedroom door that should [could] have locked to protect herself from the night-time invasions into her room.”
The complaint outlined a life of isolation wherein our client was kept at arm’s length from the world by her parents. It described the family “home schooling her and by actively restricting her community exposure to those persons in a religious community in which the defendants were highly regarded, influential and financially involved, projecting an appearance of being an idyllic and normal family committed to a moral and lawful existence.”
Our clients case stands out due to the “extraordinary” amount of time the abuse continued. What isn’t atypical were the reactions of family and community members to our client’s revelations. Ranging from disbelief to suggesting all sorts of alternative explanations i.e. never diagnosed mental illnesses or so called “false memories”.
The jury sided with our client and awarded damages for medical expenses consistent with the evidence presented, and compensation for past and for future pain and suffering.
If you’ve experienced sexual abuse by a family member you are not alone — and what happened to you is not your fault. While it may be difficult to talk about, you should know that this is an issue that impacts many people. The majority of juvenile victims know the perpetrator, and approximately 34 percent of perpetrators in cases of child sexual abuse are family members.
If you or someone you know needs help, there are numbers of resources available
https://chat.victimsofcrime.org/victim-connect/terms-of-service.jsp or If you prefer to talk with a victim assistance specialist on the phone, please call 1-855-4VICTIM (1-855-484-2846)
Susan Ramsey, Esq.