The United States government is set to pay out $5 million in compensation to settle a lawsuit filed by the victims of David Renz, an escaped prisoner who broke out of his electronic ankle bracelet while in custody and went on to murder a school librarian and rape a 10-year-old.
US Government Settles Negligence Lawsuit Over Rape, Murder
The settlement, announced on Tuesday, February 26, 2019, will create a $3 million trust fund for the young girl raped by Renz, who is around 16 years old now, Syracuse.com reports.
The agreement brings to a close nearly five years of litigation that followed the 2013 rape and murder. David Renz, at the time awaiting trial for child pornography charges, dismantled his GPS-monitoring ankle bracelet, then reassembled it with duct tape and a screw before leaving the device on his bed at home in Cicero, New York. Thus freed from supervision, he drove to the Great Northern Mall in Clay and waited in the parking lot as a group of girls left a gymnastics class.
Renz then abducted a librarian from Liverpool and a 10-year-old girl. He would later admit to stabbing the librarian, Lori Bresnahan, to death, along with raping the 10-year-old girl, who was hospitalized with severe injuries.
Lawsuit: US Probation Office Failed To Monitor Renz’s Location
In 2014, Bresnahan’s estate and a legal guardian for the young girl filed a wrongful death and rape lawsuit against the U.S. Probation Office for $110 million, claiming the federal agency failed to properly monitor Renz’s location using the GPS bracelet. Court records indicate that Renz was able to dismantle and reassemble his bracelet on multiple occasions, even though each time the device would send a warning alert to his probation officers, who appear to have ignored it.
In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs accused probation officers of ignoring at least 46 alerts from the bracelet in the six weeks prior to the attacks. Renz himself, testifying for the civil trial, told attorneys that he was emboldened to commit his savage crimes by inattention from the probation office. He said his GPS bracelet first came off one day by accident, but that he never heard from his probation officer about it. Renz also suggested that he learned how to dismantle the GPS bracelet when his probation officer allowed him to watch as he put it on, rather than having Renz face the other way. Renz testified that, if his probation officers had responded to the alerts, he would have stopped taking his bracelet off.
Government Agrees To $5 Million Settlement
While this sounds like a clear cut of negligence, no federal officials have been forced to admit liability or fault in the course of the settlement. According to federal court filings, the government is on the hook for only $5 million, even though the lawsuit’s initial demand was closer to $110 million. Most of the settlement, $3,736,986.43, is set to establish a trust fund for the young girl, who is now 16 years old. The rest of the money is intended to pay off legal fees and expenses, including to reimburse the three law firms who pursued the case.
The young girl’s custodial garden, identified as “Susan Doe,” wrote to the court that it was in the best interest of the girl to accept the settlement and avoid further litigation. “I do not want her to be put through testimony and trial if it can be prevented,” she wrote.
Renz Sentenced To Life In Prison
David Renz was ultimately sentenced to 30 years in prison for possessing more than 11,000 images of child pornography and 1,100 child pornography videos. He received a sentence of life in prison with parole for first-degree murder and predatory sexual assault against a child on May 16, 2014. At the time thirty-years-old, Renz pleaded guilty to the charges.