A Superior Court judge has ruled that a former student in the Northwestern District 7 Regional High School who allegedly raped a fellow classmate on school grounds must pay the woman $1.5 million.
Litchfield Superior Court Judge John Pickard issued his ruling Tuesday, but the woman’s attorney said it’s unlikely his client will see the money.
“We’d be lucky to get $100,000,” said attorney Kevin Brignole, whose next step is to file a motion to uncover the assets of the defendant, Plainville resident Anthony Malarney, now 21 years old.
“We will seek a wage execution to garnish his wages weekly,” said Brignole, an associate with Hartford’s Brignole, Bush & Lewis.
An amended lawsuit filed in June 2016 in Litchfield Superior Court claims the woman, then a 17-year-old student at the Winsted-based school, was raped by Malarney in October 2014 in a classroom where she was working on an arts project by herself. Since Malarney was also 17 at the time, he was charged in juvenile court, Brignole told the Connecticut Law Tribune Thursday. Proceedings from juvenile court are sealed and therefore not available to the public.
Malarney, who acted as his own attorney, has until Oct. 1 to appeal to the Connecticut Appellate Court. But Brignole felt the odds were in his client’s favor.
“I don’t see what the appealable issues would be,” the attorney said. “Theoretically, he can appeal, but I do not see it happening.”
Malarney claimed during the two-and-a-half-hour hearing before Pickard that he had consensual sex with the woman. He has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Brignole said it would have been much easier to collect damages against the school district. His client sued not just Malarney, but also the Board of Education for Regional School District 7, the superintendent and the principal. But Brignole said all of the defendants, with the exception of Malarney, were deemed to have governmental immunity and were soon removed from the case.
The lawsuit contended the school was neglectful because it allowed students to be in a classroom unsupervised.
“My premise was that school administrators were negligent and could have prevented this from happening,” Brignole said. “Students should not have been allowed in a classroom unsupervised. The school, which has since changed its policy, was aware students were unsupervised in classrooms.”
Brignole originally asked the court for $10 million. “The ruling is less about collecting the money and more about bringing justice and validation to my client,” he said. “My client is happy with the ruling and she is not expecting to get the $1.5 million right away. She feels she got her day in court and she feels she received justice.”
The woman and her mother testified during the one-day hearing before Pickard.
“My client explained how this event affected her in a negative way,” Brignole said. “Her mother explained what her daughter went through emotionally. It’s been very hard, difficult and emotional.”
Brignole said there was no physical evidence presented at the hearing, only the testimony of the plaintiff and others.
In court papers filed in response to the amended complaint, Malarney either denied the allegations, or left the plaintiff to prove her case.