- Associated Press - Friday, January 8, 2016

INDIANA, Pa. (AP) - A state appeals court has upheld a jury’s award of nearly $2.5 million in damages to three women who sued claiming they were fondled and otherwise sexually abused by a Pennsylvania man over more than 20 years.

The Superior Court upheld the 2014 Indiana County verdict against Domenic Romani. The ruling was issued Wednesday and first reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Romani was ordered the pay the women $1.25 million in punitive damages and $1.225 million in compensatory damages after a two-day trial in August 2014, during which they testified he molested them for nearly 25 years, starting when some of them were as young as 10.

“We are extremely happy with this decision. It has not been a very easy road,” said Christopher Welch, the women’s attorney. “You don’t see very many of these type of damage cases.”

Romani had previously been sentenced to two years’ probation after pleading guilty in 2011 to indecent assault of a person younger than 16. Other charges of indecent assault and corruption of minors were dropped in a plea agreement.

Romani’s attorney had argued there was no evidence the alleged abuse physically impacted the women, and that the verdict was excessive, but the appellate court disagreed.

“The evidence from all three plaintiffs described a prolonged course of conduct of inappropriate contact between Romani and the victims,” the court wrote.

The women testified that they have sought medical treatment and counseling, and suffered from sleeplessness, anxiety and depression, with one woman reporting she quit college due to problems related to the molestation.

Romani’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call Friday.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, https://pghtrib.com

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