Robert A. Woodrum

Robert A. Woodrum

NEW LEXINGTON – A lawsuit filed by a woman against her grandfather, for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a child, has been put on hold while the defendant’s related felony case is resolved.

In July the woman – who has been allowed by a judge in Perry County Common Pleas Court to proceed with her lawsuit under the pseudonym “Jane Doe” – filed her legal complaint against her grandfather Robert A. Woodrum, a 71-year-old clergyman who until recently had lived in Perry County. In the lawsuit, the woman accused Woodrum of having had sexual contact with her during stays at his home, from the time she was 9 until she turned 13.

Woodrum denied the allegations and claimed the lawsuit was an attempt to extort money from him. The woman had also filed a complaint with the Perry County Sheriff’s Office, however, and in November a county grand jury returned an indictment charging Woodrum with 24 counts of rape, 12 counts each against two juvenile victims, one of whom is the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Woodrum recently submitted an oral motion to the court in the civil case, asking that proceedings in the case be stayed pending the outcome of his criminal case. In an entry filed Thursday Judge Tina M. Boyer reports that the plaintiff in the lawsuit has no objection, and that the court will grant the stay.

Both parties have filed pre-trial statements in the civil case.

Jane Doe’s statement says, among other things, that she anticipates taking deposition testimony from witnesses including Woodrum, his wife, his adult children, and his grandchildren.

Woodrum’s pre-trial statement includes his assertion that before filing her lawsuit, Jane Doe had begun telling family members that he had sexually assaulted her as a child – accusations that he says “were and are fictitious.”

Woodrum goes on to say that due to these accuations his “reputation in the community has been permanently ruined and (his) relationship with his family has been substantially damaged,” probably irreparably.

Among the issues of law that Woodrum cites as relevant to the case is “whether plaintiff has the right to sue under (Ohio civil rules), in light of (her) deteriorated mental state.”

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