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$1 billion settlement awarded to rape victim

Posted at 5:14 AM, May 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-25 05:14:15-04

ATLANTA (WGCL/CNN) – A Clayton County jury reached a record-breaking decision.

A woman who was raped by a security guard when she was a teenager has been awarded a $1 billion verdict against the rapist's employer.

"I was 14. He took my childhood from me," said Hope Cheston, the victim.

The guard is identified in the lawsuit as Brandon Lamar Zachary. He's now in prison after pleading guilty.

A judge had already determined that Zachary's employer, Crime Prevention Agency, was liable.

Zachary was working as a security guard at Pointe South Apartments in Jonesboro, GA, in October 2012 when he raped Cheston.

"She was visiting her best friend that lived there. She was there for a sleepover and a birthday party," said L. Chris Stewart, Cheston's attorney.

While the $1 billion jury award is historic, Stewart said no amount can ever fix the harm done to Cheston.

And it's likely Cheston will never see the money.

Georgia State University law professor Jessica Gabel Cino said the verdict will likely be appealed and subsequently reduced.

But Cheston and her attorney said the money isn't what the lawsuit was about.

"It is what 12 people in the state of Georgia said a victim of rape is worth. They said a little black girl in Clayton County who was raped is worth $1 billion. That was a big win for us," Stewart said.

Copyright 2018 WGCL via CNN. All rights reserved.