O.C. Sex Assault Victim Sues Her 3 Attackers
A woman who was sexually assaulted by the son of a wealthy former Orange County assistant sheriff and two friends as they videotaped the incident filed a lawsuit Thursday against the men and six others involved in the case.
The lawsuit, filed in Orange County Superior Court by the woman under the pseudonym Jane Doe, seeks unspecified damages for emotional distress, invasion of privacy, sexual assault and battery.
The suit names Gregory Haidl, son of businessman and former assistant sheriff Donald Haidl, and co-defendants Kyle Nachreiner and Keith Spann. The three were convicted on several sexual assault charges this year. Also named are Haidl’s parents and stepmother, Haidl’s attorney, Joseph Cavallo, and two of his investigators.
The case gained national notoriety because of the lurid videotape of the July 2002 crime and the defense’s efforts to paint the victim as a would-be porn star who pretended to be unconscious in the video.
Gregory Haidl, 20, Nachreiner, 21, and Spann, 21, were 17 when they assaulted the victim, then 16, using a variety of objects including a pool cue in Donald Haidl’s Corona del Mar home.
Haidl faces up to 18 years in prison, Nachreiner, 14 years, and Spann, 16 years, when they are sentenced Jan. 20 in Orange County Superior Court. They must also register with authorities as sex offenders.
The civil suit accuses all of the defendants of causing the victim emotional distress. Haidl’s parents and stepmother are accused of negligence because they knew their son regularly threw parties where minors had access to drugs and alcohol, according to the suit.
Nachreiner’s lawyer declined to comment. Spann’s attorney could not be reached.
In a prepared statement, Donald Haidl said, “This has been a heartbreaking situation for everyone. Any additional court action will continue to hurt a lot of people for years to come.”
The suit accuses Cavallo, Haidl’s attorney, and two of his investigators of invading the victim’s privacy by stalking her, improperly obtaining her confidential medical records and going through her trash.
“Stalking, trespassing, obtaining records illegally, intimidation, this is what we’re after,” said Sheldon Lodmer, an attorney representing the victim. “That has nothing to do with being aggressive in the courtroom.”
Cavallo dismissed the allegations.
“Obviously Sheldon doesn’t understand the concept of immunity,” he said. “Second, he has no concept of aggressively defending somebody charged with a crime who is looking at 192 years in prison.”
Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School, said it’s atypical for defense lawyers to be named in civil lawsuits alongside their clients. “It’s not anything goes, but we do give criminal defense lawyers some leeway because their job, after all, is trying to defend somebody accused of a serious crime,” she said.