A six-person jury has awarded a victim $2,750,000 after finding the St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center at fault in a sex abuse lawsuit involving a doctor that worked there. The jury declared that the hospital failed to protect its patients.

Authorities believe the doctor, Dr. George Reardon, used the guise of a growth study to molest hundreds of children over a period of 30 years. The abuse began in the 1950s, when Reardon was a young doctor in Albany, New York, and continued in Connecticut through the 1980s. Reardon, who was an endocrinologist, died in 1998 without ever facing criminal charges.

The owner of the late Reardon’s former house in West Hartford was renovating when he discovered a hidden stash of pornographic video reels and pictures. The victims then started to come forward in 2007, blaming the hospital.

Investigators say the plaintiffs represent only a small fraction of the children victimized by Reardon, who was respected enough in his day to have parents lend their children for the study he used as cover for the abuse. Many photographed children have still not come forward.

As the verdict was announced, the plaintiff, known as Tim Doe 1, said, “I am just so grateful and I’m hoping the people behind me get the same fair chance that I did, because it is huge, a huge relief, from everything that has been pent up for so many years.”

“We are deeply disappointed in the jury’s decision in the case. It has been a long, painful journey for all parties regarding the late Dr. Reardon. As many witnesses testified, Dr. Reardon was a master manipulator who cunningly deceived his closest professional peers, his family, his neighbors and his community,” said Paul Williams, a lawyer for the hospital. “We will now begin to review our options to determine appropriate next steps. We will expect to complete that review within the next several days.”

The journey for Williams and the other lawyers is just beginning as over 60 more lawsuits are being filed against St. Francis hospital.

(Source: Hartford Courant)

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