Woman raped in public when she was 14 awarded $1 billion in damages

A Georgia woman who was raped by an armed security guard on a picnic table outside her friend’s apartment complex when she was just 14 has been awarded $1 billion in compensatory damages by jurors in a civil lawsuit against the security company that employed her rapist. Hope Cheston, now 20, was attending a friend’s birthday party in Jonesboro when she was subjected to the brazen attack, which she said forever altered her.

In a potentially precedent-setting move, jurors brought in to determine damages in the case ruled that the physical and emotional damages suffered by Cheston were nearly incalculable, awarding her $1 billion in damages. According to, her lawyers, the case marked the largest jury verdict ever awarded in the U.S. for a sexual assault case.

The judge can still reduce the value of the compensation, and the security company itself doesn’t have a billion dollars to pay out. Nonetheless, Cheston’s lawyer said, the result would have far-reaching consequences, even beyond Cheston’s own life.



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