Sep 27, 2021
A $900,000 settlement has been paid following a July 2020 child sexual abuse lawsuit against Riverside County and former sheriff, Stan Sniff. The lawsuit was filed in federal court by three men and a woman who alleged sexual molestation by a former sheriff’s investigator – Kevin Duffy. According to the complaint, former Sheriff Sniff engaged in a “calculated and conscientious” cover-up of “depraved behavior” on the part of Duffy.
Duffy died by suicide in 2009. In July 2018, a request for a grand jury investigation into Duffy’s alleged sexual abuse was raised after numerous victims reportedly came forward alleging that he molested them when they participated in the Sheriff’s Activities League (SAL).
According to a report by The Press-Enterprise, the lawsuit recently settled for $900,000 alleged that former sheriff Sniff allowed Duffy to go free despite investigators wanting to arrest him for multiple sex offenses. Duffy was reportedly never charged with a crime.
A Riverside County spokesperson confirmed to The Press-Enterprise that the settlement had been finalized in July.
In addition to Riverside County and former sheriff Sniff, the claim listed the following defendants:
The state of California was reportedly also sued, but later removed from the complaint as a defendant. Following the settlement, Sniff and Riverside County were reportedly dismissed from the lawsuit.
The Press-Enterprise also reported that Duffy joined the Sheriff’s Department in 1982 and founded the Hemet Sheriff’s Activities League – an organization established to “steer youths away from drugs and violence,” according to the publication. Duffy’s final assignment was at the sheriff’s Hemet station in Valle Vista.
After being placed on administrative lead, Duffy died by suicide on January 25, 2009. He reportedly won the Excellence in Community Service Award from the Law Enforcement Appreciation Committee.
In 2018, NBC Palm Springs reported that former Riverside County Sheriff, Stan Sniff, referred to the request for a grand jury investigation into the allegations against Duffy as a “baseless political attack,” declaring that he had already conducted a “thorough and exhaustive investigation.”
At the time, Sniff indicated his own investigation entailed the following:
Through said investigation, Sniff reportedly found two separate incidents against one child. But no action seems to have ever been taken in light of that finding. The NBC Palm Springs report confirmed that in 2018 Sniff stated that since the initial finding “no other victims have come forward.” At the time that the grand jury was requested, those calling for the investigation indicated that they had received credible allegations from “multiple” victims.
Shortly thereafter the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the victims.
The lawsuit reportedly contained graphic descriptions of alleged child molestation committed by Duffy, all of which took place within the Hemet Sheriff’s Activities League he had established. The suit further alleges that Duffy used his position to prey on victims, citing one example of a boy who “came from a troubled, fatherless home” whom the former investigator reportedly “took advantage of.”
The complaint included allegations from as far back as 1999, including alleged assaults against a female plaintiff “on multiple occasions.” One such alleged incident with the female plaintiff (a teenager who was in foster care at the time and diagnosed with autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) involved suggesting that she could see her incarcerated father if she performed sex acts with Duffy.
The complaint further alleged Duffy “sexually assaulted numerous minor boys who were (league) participants and otherwise touched the boys for his own sexual gratification and arousal,” and cited 15 additional examples of victims not including the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit.
Additionally, the complaint alleged the plaintiffs “were afraid that Duffy would hurt them if they reported his sexual assault,” and as a result “continue to suffer from humiliation, guilt, and shame relating to Duffy’s sexual assault.”
Childhood sexual abuse impacts countless of innocent victims every year. A new law recently passed in California known as AB 218 is offering survivors an opportunity at obtaining justice through civil lawsuits in pursuit of financial compensation.
AB 218’s three-year lookback window is an unprecedented chance at securing justice which, for many survivors of childhood sexual abuse, is long overdue. Under the lookback window clause, any survivor of childhood sexual abuse is currently eligible to file a civil lawsuit, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. In this temporary and rare instance, the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse claims is paused (tolled) until December 31, 2022.
However, after that date the lookback window officially closes. Accordingly, survivors who did not file claims will likely be left without any legal recourse (particularly those whose crimes occurred outside of the standard statute of limitations).
Dordulian Law Group (DLG) strongly encourages all survivors to come forward and officially report their claims. By doing so, we are then able to fight to help you recover the maximum financial compensation you deserve.
Another aspect of the AB 218 law that may be of interest to survivors is the treble damages clause. Treble (triple) damages may now be awarded in childhood sexual abuse cases where a cover-up is proven. The courts have the latitude to triple any financial damages you may receive as a result of an AB 218 lawsuit where a cover-up is proven – which means a $10 million settlement could ultimately result in a $30 million payout.
For a free and no obligation consultation or for more information on how to file an AB 218 childhood sexual abuse claim, contact a member of DLG’s dedicated team today at 818-322-4056. We’re California’s leading sexual abuse law firm due to our experience and the proven results achieve for each and every client:
After helping clients recover more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts (and maintaining a 98% success record in the process), we’re dedicated to fighting as your legal advocates to ensure you obtain the justice you deserve through a maximum financial damages award.
And since we accept every case on a contingency fee agreement, you never have to worry about upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses when securing the very best legal representation available. Our No Win/No Fee Guarantee means you don’t pay a penny until we recover maximum financial compensation for your childhood sexual abuse claim.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.