Situation P*mp Lawsuit $1 Million
January 16, 2012 by staff
Situation P*mp Lawsuit $1 Million, A boy in a blue plaid shirt and glasses sat on the witness stand in a wood-paneled courtroom, explaining why he had to seek counseling after spending four days at Clemson University’s Camp Bob Cooper in 2008.
“I don’t like people touching me or touching my neck,” he said. “I only let my mom touch me. It sends shivers up my spine.”
Dylan Walker, now 13, described high ropes, archery and campfires, how rock climbing made him nervous and how he did not welcome horseplay. He also said he does not like talking about what happened when he left his Summerville home to attend the camp on Lake Marion.
Dylan, 9 at the time, was one of four young boys allegedly forced to play “the choking game” by 17-year-old volunteer counselor Ronald Edward Riley, who outweighed each of them by at least 100 pounds. The choking game causes a brief high but comes with the risk of serious injury or death.
Dylan didn’t want to play.
His family and another camper’s family together won a $1 million verdict in a civil case against the federal program, Operation: Military Kids, Clemson and its Youth Learning Institute and Camp Bob Cooper. The trial ended Thursday following four days of testimony and arguments.
The Clarendon County jury took just minutes to deliberate before reaching a decision. Each boy’s family will receive $500,000.
One of the attorneys representing the families, David Savage of Charleston, likened the situation to throwing a hornet’s nest into an enclosed room and shutting the door. Anyone stung inside the room can’t blame the hornets, only the person who put them there.
Riley “made a MySpace page of himself holding a knife up to his lips saying, ‘Be quiet. This is going to hurt.’ That’s how he advertised himself,” Savage said. “They did no background check on him.”
Clemson University spokeswoman Cathy Sams said Cam
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