A Houston jury awarded $20 million in damages yesterday to a rape victim who sued her apartment complex for failing to notify residents about previous sexual attacks on the property, the Houston Chronicle reports. The woman lwas raped and sodomized for more than 10 hours at a west Houston complex in 2009. She charged that complex officials knew about a break-in next door to the woman’s unit a few weeks before her ordeal in which a man tried to rape that resident and failed to notify other tenants about a sexual predator.
The woman renewed her lease shortly after the earlier incident without being told about its severity, said her lawyer, Troy Chandler. After a weeklong trial, the jury awarded $7 million for physical pain and mental anguish, $5 million for future mental anguish and $8 million for conduct forbidden by the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Police, on notice about a possible serial rapist, arrested Darryl Martin shortly after the woman’s attacker fled and she called 911. Martin, now 24, pleaded guilty to sexual assault and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.