A woman who was robbed, raped and stabbed in 1981 by three men--including two security guards--at an ITT research facility in the Sylmar hills, accepted an out-of-court settlement of $1.9 million from the company Thursday in Van Nuys Superior Court.
Attorneys for Kimberly Molineux, 22, said that they advised her not to settle, believing she would be awarded greater damages by a jury. But Molineux said she did not want to have to describe her ordeal on the witness stand.
“Money can’t do anything for what happened to me,” she said Thursday. “I’ve relived that night enough, and I don’t want to go through it again.”
Molineux was stabbed repeatedly by her assailants, who left her to die. Her companion, Daniel Harris, 16, was killed. After wandering for two days, the young woman crawled five miles up a steep ravine before being rescued.
Harris’ parents accepted $100,000 from ITT on Thursday. The settlements were reached as testimony was to begin in the trial of a 1982 suit filed by Molineux and Harris’ parents.
In 1983, three men were convicted of first-degree murder, rape and robbery in the attack and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Testimony in the criminal trial indicated that Molineux and Harris were parked on a Sylmar hills bluff on a November evening when they were approached by security guards Steven Romero and James Dominik. The couple were told that they were trespassing and were asked to follow Romero and Dominik, who were driving an ITT van.
At the ITT research facility, the men forced Molineux into a basement, where they and Clifton Shedelbower, a friend of Dominik who did not work for ITT, repeatedly raped her before leaving her in a remote canyon. Harris died after one of the attackers struck him with a pipe.
Terms of Settlement
Under the settlement, Molineux will receive a total of $1.93 million over her lifetime, including an immediate payment of $100,000. Harris’ parents, Roberta and Neil Harris, will receive their $100,000 in a lump sum, attorneys said.
Lawyers for ITT would not comment on the settlement.
Attorney David Sabih, who represented Harris’ parents and Molineux, said that the money was not enough.
“It’s a sorry amount for the holocaust that she went through,” he said. “We were against accepting the settlement. But we had no choice. Kim didn’t care if she got nothing. Kim told me she wasn’t in this for the money.”
Had Sought $8 Million
Sabih and his partner, San Francisco attorney Melvin Belli, had asked for $8 million. Sabih said that with Molineux’s testimony he believed that the jury, which had been selected Wednesday afternoon, would have awarded her and the Harrises “an amount much greater than what we had to settle for.”
“I got nervous,” Molineux said Thursday of her decision to settle. “Last night I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking that I had been through enough. I didn’t want this thrown in my face again.
“Sometimes I try to forgive them (her attackers). “But it’s difficult. I’d like to ask them why they picked Danny and me.”