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Negligent Property Owners May Share Liability for the Rape of a 12-Year-Old Atlanta Boy

On a winter day in early 2018, a boy was snatched off of Beaufort Highway in Atlanta and dragged into a nearby apartment, where two men took turns raping him. Nobody in the building noticed or responded to the abduction until the boy managed to escape from the unit where he was being held and ran to the complex’s leasing office for help.

One of the two suspected perpetrators was apprehended immediately, while the other spent a week eluding capture, leading law enforcement to worry that he might strike again. Before the boy’s abduction, the latter suspect had already been charged with false imprisonment in the past, in addition to forgery, robbery, and burglary. Thankfully, both suspects have now been arrested and indicted, relieving the immediate threat to the general public, but this hardly begins to address the horrors their victim suffered.

The Consequences of the Attack Will Affect This Boy for the Rest of His Life

In purely monetary terms, the average rape survivor is left with a lifetime economic burden of $122,461, according to a 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control. In this boy’s case, the news may be much worse. One of the two suspects in the rape and kidnapping was HIV-positive, meaning the boy has been exposed to this life-altering and presently incurable virus.

If he does contract HIV from the incident, this factor alone will cost him and his family between $230,000 and $435,000 in added medical expenses over the course of his life. Even with the best available treatment, HIV will also raise his risk of illness, limit his sexual and family planning options, and shorten his lifespan.

Of course, with or without the risk of HIV, rape can’t be limited to monetary terms. Even with unlimited care and resources, the physical and psychological effects can be permanent and far-reaching and may include:

  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Addiction
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Problems with social skills and interaction

In particular, people who experience sexual violence in childhood are especially likely to have difficulty developing and maintaining healthy relationships in adulthood.

Landlords Are Responsible for Keeping Their Properties Safe

There’s no shortage of reasons why this horrific attack should never have happened. The simplest, of course, is that no one should have committed it. However, punishing the perpetrators in court likely won’t be enough to give the victim and his family what they need to move forward as best they can.

For real compensation, they’ll need to consider who’s profiting from allowing such crimes to occur. The owners of this complex appear to have created an environment in which known criminals feel safe taking refuge, with a kidnapped victim in tow. One has to wonder if there are any security cameras or lights installed on the property, and whether management has turned a blind eye to criminal behavior in the past. There’s a good chance that a few reasonable precautions on the part of the landlord could have prevented this crime, and if so, that landlord shares liability for the outcome.

If you or someone you love has been victimized in an apartment complex with inadequate security, call The Stoddard Firm today.