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Jury Awards $9.2 Million to Girl Molested by Officer

July 24, 1992|PENELOPE McMILLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded $9.2 million Thursday to a teen-age girl who was molested by a Los Angeles police officer at her parents' home in 1989.

The jury ordered the city of Los Angeles to pay $6.1 in compensatory damages to the girl and ordered Stanley Tanabe, a former LAPD officer who was convicted and went to jail, to pay $3.1 million in punitive damages.

Tanabe, once a member of the Police Department's elite Metro Division, entered the Hollywood home of the girl, then 13, while he was off duty but wearing a uniform. Pretending he was conducting an investigation, Tanabe was allowed into the house and fondled the girl in her bedroom. When he returned, again in uniform and off duty, the family reported him to the police and he was arrested.

Tanabe was convicted in 1990 of sexual battery, lewd conduct and burglary. He was sentenced to two years in state prison.

The civil suit brought by the girl and her mother sought damages for the suffering caused by the incident. "The jury recognized the devastating impact the crime had" on the girl, said attorney Eric Ferrer. "She suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. She has a deadly fear of police officers and has suffered perhaps permanent emotional scars."

The jury also awarded the girl's mother, Alicia Diaz, $200,000 in compensatory damages to be paid by the city, and $100,000 in punitive damages to be paid by Tanabe.

Senior Assistant City Atty. Thomas C. Hokinson called the award against the city excessive and said that the city was not responsible for Tanabe's actions. Hokinson said the city will file a motion for a new trial and is considering an appeal.

Tanabe could not be located Thursday.

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