Reverend Ralph D West II, the assistant pastor at the Church Without Walls’s Elridge Campus in Houston, was ordered to pay $2.45m after a jury found him liable following a three-day civil trial.
The woman’s attorney, Shaun Murphy, said that his client contracted herpes during unprotected sex with Mr West, whom she had met on Facebook. Mr Murphy said she had an outbreak two or three days after being intimate with Mr West.
“You can’t fix it, she’s got it for the rest of her life,” Mr Murphy told Click2Houston. “The things that we look at for cases like these are essentially four things. Is the defendant infected and how can we prove it? Did he know he was infected, do we have evidence of that?”
The attorney said that his legal team was able to prove Mr West was the one to give herpes to her client in March 2018 through her medical records and tests she got at the time.
“... because she hadn’t been with anybody else, she had a prior negative test,” Mr Murphy added.
Mr Murphy claimed that his client later confronted the pastor, who allegedly said he had contracted herpes from his son’s mother. Emails between Mr West and the woman reportedly supported those claims.
“Where she accuses him of knowing he had it, of giving it to her and there are other allegations about not caring about me and that kind of thing,” Mr Murphy told Click2Houston. “He never once denied that he had it or that he knew he had it.”
Mr West was ordered to pay $1.45m in compensatory damages and $1m in punitive damages.
The Independent has reached out to the Church Without Walls for comment.
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