Girl sexually abused by artist gets $5.4 million

A Pasadena judge Monday awarded $5.4 million to a girl who was sexually abused by a children's artist who also took pornographic photographs of her, the girl's attorney said.

The artist, whose legal name is Awest but who is also known as Andrew West Reid Jr., is serving an eight-year sentence in federal prison for state and federal convictions on charges of molesting the girl, who was 6 at the time, and possessing child pornography.

In court filings, attorneys for the girl, identified as Jane Doe, alleged that Awest approached and befriended the girl's family through his own daughter, who was about the same age. The FBI found more than 500 images of nude children and child erotica on Awest's computer, according to court papers.

Awest acted as his own attorney in the civil case and appeared via telephone for some hearings, said Anthony De Marco, the girl's attorney. He did not appear at the trial, which lasted half a day, in person or over the phone, the attorney said.

The girl, now 11, took the stand and testified about the abuse, De Marco said.

According to his plea agreement in the criminal case, Awest took explicit photographs of the girl in January 2006 after her mother dropped her off at his Sierra Madre home so the girl could go to Disneyland with Awest and his family. While taking the girl home, he told her to remove her underwear and again took photos with his digital camera, according to court records.

The family's civil attorney contended in court papers that Awest sexually abused the girl that day in the presence of his own daughter.

"No amount of money is going to take away what's happened to her," De Marco said. "I think the judge, after hearing all the evidence, assessed a verdict that showed the gravity of what this guy did and how it's going to affect her for the rest of her life."

Awest worked in the record industry and in production design and art direction for children's television programming, according to an FBI release from the time of his arrest.

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