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California jury gives assault victims

VENTURA, Calif. — A California jury says the owner of a psychiatric hospital should pay $150,000 in punitive damages to sexual assault victims a day after awarding them millions in a civil suit.

The Ventura County Star reported Tuesday that a jury levied punitive damages of $50,000 for each victim against Signature Healthcare Services Tuesday.

The previous day the jury awarded $13.25 million to the three former patients of Aurora Vista del Mar Hospital.

The jury ruled Monday that Vista del Mar, corporate owner Signature and Juan Valencia all bear responsibility.

Valencia was arrested in 2015 and pleaded guilty to rape of an incompetent person, sexual penetration with a foreign object and sexual contact with a confined person

The plaintiffs’ lawyer had sought $36 million to $45 million in damages against Signature.

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Information from: Ventura County Star, http://venturacountystar.com

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