A judge ordered a prominent Montgomery businessman to pay eight million dollars to his daughter. She claimed he subjected her to three decades of sexual abuse that began when she was a preschooler.
Circuit Judge Helen Shores Lee of Birmingham ruled against Fred M. Blackmon of Montgomery, a vice president with Merrill Lynch and Company. The ruling came in a civil lawsuit filed by Louise Plott, who now resides in the Birmingham area.
Plott also claimed to be the victim of horrific emotional torture along with physical assaults. She had asked for a judgment of $32 million.
An attorney for Blackmon said his client was considering options for challenging the verdict, including an appeal.
Attorneys for Plott, who is 35, said she felt vindicated by the judge's decision, which was released November 6th but not previously reported.
The judge heard 28 witnesses during a trial that was held without a jury in August. In her ruling, the judge said four therapists testified that Plott had symptoms that are common among victims of childhood sexual abuse, and that two experts who testified for Blackmon couldn't say whether Plott had been abused.
Documents filed by the defense show Plott's mother and four siblings denied during testimony that they saw signs of abuse, but one of her sisters also described the allegations as "complicated."
Plott claimed two of her brothers were forced as children to join in the sexual assaults by their father, an allegation both brothers denied.
Blackmon is a one-time University of Alabama golfer who has received recognition for donating money to Crimson Tide athletics. He has served on church boards and is listed as president of a family foundation that has more than $1.2 million in assets and has given tens of thousands to charity.