'When you're raped at 11, you don't forget it.' Jury begins deliberations in Warren County sex abuse lawsuit
Jurors have begun deliberating in a lawsuit accusing Warren County of turning a blind eye to sexual abuse allegedly committed by a former sheriff.
Attorney Brad Russo told jurors during closing statements, “You heard county employee after county employee recall … what they saw, what they witnessed.”
Russo represents a man, identified only as W.M., who says he was raped by former Sheriff Edward Bullock as a child.
Bullock is accused of repeatedly raping boys at the county’s youth shelter. Team 12 first reported on these accusations a year ago, in a Kane In Your Corner investigation titled “Justice Delayed.”
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W.M. testified that when he reported his rape to a shelter worker, “he snatched me off the top bunk and punched me in the stomach, and he said, ‘don’t ever [expletive] say those things again.’”
Multiple county employees testified that they observed suspicious behavior and believed Bullock was abusing children. Some, like former shelter employee Lisa Rodger, said they repeatedly tried to report their suspicions and were rebuffed by supervisors.
Jerald Howarth, attorney for Warren County, says no one witnessed any abuse. “The county disputes that we knew anything about this and that we permitted it to happen,” he said.
The county also produced an expert witness who said W.M. was already a troubled child before he was raped. In his closing statement, Howarth said, “When you look at W.M., you have to decide, what type of impact it really had on his life.”
Russo criticized the defense’s argument that the abuse might not be to blame for W.M.’s post-traumatic stress disorder. “When you're raped at 11,” said Russo, “you don't forget it.”