Teen Raped at Graduation Party Sues Attacker and Parent who Furnished Alcohol

Jackson County courthouse

A recent 1.04-million-dollar lawsuit was filed in Jackson County on behalf of an Oregon teen who was raped at her high school graduation party. The lawsuit names both the alleged attacker, Joseph Moeller, as well as Julene Erskine, a 62-year-old woman who furnished alcohol for teens at the graduation party.

At the time of the party in June 2017, the plaintiff was 16 years old, while Moeller was over the age of 18. She reported the rape to the police shortly after it happened, yet the Jackson County District Attorney’s office did not prosecute the case.  The office has provided no clear explanation as to why they did not prosecute Moeller. Erskine, a parent of a high school graduate at the party, not only allowed the party to take place at her Central Point residence, but furnished beer, liquor and Mike’s Hard lemonade to the group of recent high school grads. Erskine was convicted in 2017 for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor. The lawsuit states that there were approximately 30-50 minors who attended the graduation party.

The plaintiff alleges that Moeller raped her in the back of her car after she had passed out. The plaintiff alleges that she was “unable to fight back or get away” due to her degree of intoxication. She further alleges that Moeller “placed his hands over her throat causing her to be unable to breathe and fear for her life.”

The difference between a civil lawsuit and a criminal case lies in the standard of proof. A civil suit must show a preponderance of evidence, while a criminal suit must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Due to this difference, the plaintiff in this case may get some sort of justice by taking civil action. Unfortunately, the plaintiff has already had to endure the attacker being let off the hook criminally.

Attorney Ashley L. Vaughn at our office has extensive experience in dealing with these types of cases. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to sexual abuse, please call our confidential number at 503-616-5007, or you can send us a confidential email at info@dumasandvaughn.com.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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