A federal jury has ruled in favor of an ex-husband who was accused of forcing his wife into a sadomasochistic relationship in which he allegedly sexually abused her.
In a story we documented earlier this month, a jury of four men and four women ruled that Kimberly O’Brien, 52, should not receive any monetary damages from the suit that claimed she was abused by her then-husband throughout their marriage.
After listening to testimony from both sides over a nine-day trial, the jury deliberated for four and a half hours before returning their verdict. The ruling closes the book on a lawsuit that has been pending for seven years.
“Here it would seem like the jury believed the husband’s claims that O’Brien was a willing participant in the activities and her suit against him was simply about the money,” said Family Law Attorney Sean Sullivan.
Looking Back at the Case
In her suit, O’Brien alleged that her then-husband Kenneth Anderson tied her up and sexually abused her while the pair was on their honeymoon. The claim also stated that Anderson forced her to walk around the home naked, sleep on the floor next to the bed, and address him as “master”.
Anderson said the sexually submissive relationship was O’Brien’s idea. He also stated that the couple had a safe word in case things went too far, but O’Brien never used the word.
Anderson also testified that O’Brien went behind his back and had an abortion. He said she later told him she’d lost the baby in a miscarriage, but O’Brien told the court Anderson forced her to have an abortion.
The case took seven years to reach a conclusion because Anderson was a successful business owner that had millions of dollars in assets. Sullivan said the case could have been settled much quicker if the couple had opted to draft a prenuptial agreement.
“This case would have been simplified if the parties had decided to create a thorough pre-martial agreement before they wed,” said Sullivan. “The case would not have been litigated for seven years, and the parties could have avoided wasting time and money on a drawn out legal process.”
Sides Differ on Ruling
Ultimately the case came down to a “he said, she-said” type of argument. Perhaps the most damaging evidence against O’Brien’s version of events were photographs of her on the honeymoon. She was seen smiling in the pictures, and there was little evidence of being forcibly constrained earlier on the trip. Dean Dickie, who represented O’Brien at trial, said they were disheartened with the ruling.
“We’re disappointed with the verdict,” said Dickie. “This has been a very difficult ordeal for her.”
Anderson’s attorney Charles Cole said he was confident the jury was able to accurately separate fact from fiction.
“This is not a vulnerable woman under anyone’s control, locked up in some dungeon,” said Cole. “This story just doesn’t hold water.”
Related source: Chicago Tribune