Judge Awards Sex Abuse Victim $1 Million
Jane Doe v. Mario Fusco Jr.: A woman who was sexually abused as a teenager by a relative who had promised to tutor her was awarded approximately $1 million in damages by a judge in Waterbury recently.
The woman, who lives in Wolcott and is now 23 years old, sued Mario Fusco, Jr., a former teacher at Wallingford's Alternative High School, in May 2012, a month after the man was sentenced to eight years in prison for the abuse.
In civil court the judge granted the woman permission to go by a pseudonym so as not to identify her.
According to the complaint filed by the woman's lawyer, Gerald Sack, of the Law Offices of Gerald S. Sack in West Hartford, the victim and Fusco are cousins. In 2004, when the plaintiff was 14 and Fusco was employed as a teacher, he agreed to tutor her.
The lawsuit claims that during the tutoring sessions they would study, watch movies or play games. After earning the teenager's trust, Fusco then began asking personal questions.
"Fusco began questioning plaintiff regarding matters of a sexual nature such as whether she was sexually active and whether she knew how to do certain things," read Sack's complaint. "Fusco convinced plaintiff that if she didn't do certain sexual things right she could possibly hurt someone and he told her he would show her how to do certain sexual things correctly so she wouldn't hurt the person she was with."
Sack's complaint further claimed Fusco pressured the girl into masturbating, performing oral sex on him and sending him nude photos. The lawsuit alleged assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Sack claims the victim has suffered "severe psychological injuries" as a result of the abuse, which lasted until she was 17 years old. Additionally, Sack alleged that the victim has endured feelings of intense embarrassment, self-blame and guilt, stress and anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and trust issues. Sack said the abuse has seriously impaired her social and occupational functioning.
Sack, in the complaint, said she would need "considerable sums of money for psychological care and treatment" going forward.
Fusco, of Middlebury, was arrested in May 2011 and charged with second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. Additional charges, including child pornography and voyeurism, were later filed after investigators discovered inappropriate videotapes on his computer.