The lawyers of Johnson & Groninger often represent crime victims. But we also firmly believe in due process and civil rights, especially for anyone accused of a crime. If a person is charged with a crime and found not guilty, he should be able to go on with his life. The mere fact of being accused of a crime should not prevent him from working and feeding his family.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to Ralph Williams of South Carolina, who was accused of raping a nursing home patient while he was working as a certified nursing assistant. Williams’ employer required him to change the diapers of female patients. While he was doing this one evening, a supervisor who resented him because he had previously questioned her job performance accused Williams of raping the patient. Williams went through a criminal trial and was acquitted by a jury. There was no DNA evidence of a crime.
Despite being found not guilty, Williams was unable to find employment after the rape accusation. Williams sued the nurse who had made the allegation, and sued his former employer for wrongful discharge. A setback for Williams was when his lawyers were not allowed to tell the jury in the civil case about the not guilty finding in the criminal trial. However, the jury was able to see newspaper reports of the arrest, and they could also see that Williams was walking about the community freely. They put two and two together.
The jury awarded compensatory and punitive damages, totaling $1 million. We wish Mr. Williams the best, and we applaud his lawyers, Robin Foster and Java Warren, for a job well done.