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Seaman wins $3.75M in retrial of rape claims

After the Supreme Court of Virginia ordered a new trial following a $25 million verdict, a former ship crew member who claimed he was raped in a foreign port won a $3.75 million award from a Portsmouth jury Tuesday.

The seaman alleged the shipping company he worked for failed to provide medical and psychiatric treatment after he reported violent mistreatment by local authorities while on shore leave in South Korea.

At his first trial in 2011, the jury awarded $20 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The trial judge set aside the punitive award and cut the compensatory damages to $2 million.

The next year, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment and ordered a new trial.

That second trial began March 9 and ended Tuesday, reported The Virginian-Pilot. James L. Chapman IV, who represented the seaman, asked the jury for $10 million in damages, the paper said.

The man’s claims were unusual.

He said he was punched and kicked and eventually raped by men who appeared to be police officers in the 2008 incident in South Korea.

After returning to his ship he was fired for being intoxicated, but he claimed his tormenters had forced him to drink alcohol.

The plaintiff said company officials delayed providing needed medical care. He claimed he was disabled by the trauma he suffered.

Post-trial motions are pending.

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