A jury in Lake County has awarded $12.5 million to a man who, as a child, was sexually abused by a Baptist minister, his attorney announced Monday.
"It's one of the biggest [monetary awards] in Florida — maybe the most for a single victim," said the man's attorney, Ron Weil of Weil Quaranta McGovern of Miami.
The jury agreed unanimously on the award Saturday morning after a six-day trial on the issue of damages. A separate jury in May 2012 held the Florida Baptist Convention liable in the case, saying the organization didn't adequately investigate Douglas W. Myers, 64, who previously had been accused of inappropriate conduct with children.
"This was a long journey for this child who needlessly suffered because the institutions he trusted failed to protect him," Weil said in a statement. "In light of the evidence presented, the jury surely understood the devastating impact on this young man."
A Florida Baptist Convention spokeswoman on Monday said she was unaware of the verdict, and attorneys for the group, which supports more than 2,900 congregations, could not be reached.
The boy, now 21 and a college student, is still living with the effects of the abuse, Weil said. Myers recruited the youth as a volunteer to help start new churches and spread the faith, saying he wanted to be a mentor partly because he and his wife had lost a child, Weil said.