A federal appeals court has upheld a $2.2 million jury award against a former Kalispell businessman in a lawsuit filed by a woman who said the man sexually assaulted her when she was 16.
Monte Beck, the woman’s attorney, said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected an appeal filed by Richard Dasen Sr.
Beck said Dasen sought to overturn a $2 million punitive damage award based on a comment made during closing arguments. Beck said the appeals court panel decided the reference was not a basis for overturning the award.
Dasen was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted in May 2005 of sexual abuse of children, promotion of prostitution and four counts of prostitution. Dasen was acquitted of a felony prostitution charge involving the 16-year-old girl.
Prosecutors said Dasen spent millions of dollars on sex over a period of years, targeting methamphetamine addicts and women who were struggling with debt.
About 20 women and girls were also convicted of prostitution related to Dasen’s case.
In 2006, Beck’s client filed a second lawsuit against Dasen, his former business partners and family members, alleging Dasen transferred substantial assets to others to prevent collection in the civil case. The woman was also awarded $200,000 compensatory damage award.
Dasen was placed in involuntary bankruptcy by his former companies and his criminal defense attorney, requiring Beck and his client to pursue the damage claims through bankruptcy court.
“Collection of the award has been difficult,” Beck said in a statement. “We are, however, making progress in collecting on assets that were allegedly fraudulently transferred to some of Dasen’s family members and former business partners.”
About $1 million has been recovered, Beck said, but that money is being held in a bankruptcy estate and has yet to be distributed.
Dasen was released from prison in May 2007 and has moved to the Phoenix area.
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