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World Harvest verdict to be appealed
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World Harvest Church plans to appeal a multi-million dollar verdict rendered by a Franklin County jury yesterday. Two parents sued the mega church and one of its former day care workers for allegedly abusing their two-year-old child last year.
A jury in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas found World Harvest Church and former daycare worker Richard Vaughan responsible for causing marks on a child’s legs and buttocks in January 2006. The jury awarded Michael and Lacey Faieta almost $6 million in damages.
Attorney Charles Saxbe represents World Harvest and Vaughan. Saxbe called the verdict shocking.
“There was no medical testimony which supported a finding of abuse. We believe that the limitation on the information and evidence that should have been presented to the jury was extremely prejudicial to the defendants’ case,” Saxbe said.
Saxbe said the judge would not allow the jury to hear any evidence of two separate investigations of the incident. One was completed by Franklin County Children’s Services and the other by the Columbus Division of Police. Saxbe said neither investigation found evidence of abuse.
“We intend to vigorously appeal this unfortunate decision and believe we will ultimately prevail,” Saxbe said.
The day care where the alleged incident happened has since closed, Saxbe said due to small enrollment numbers. He said he plans to file an appeal soon.