Danny Heinrich victim awarded $17 million in damages in civil suit

When Jared Scheierl had his day in court last month, he testified about the pain and suffering he endured at the hands of Danny Heinrich when he was a 12-year-old boy.

“It was two and a half years in the making,” said Doug Kelley, Scheierl’s attorney. “It’s just an emotional and personal case for a lot of people.”

Now, Scheierl’s crusade to hold Heinrich responsible for a lifetime of nightmares, depression and anxiety is finally paying off.

“I think he was quite ecstatic,” Kelley said. “Quite ecstatic.”

Scheierl was awarded $17 million in damages in his civil suit against Heinrich for kidnapping and sexually assaulting him back in 1989. It was $2 million in economic losses, $5 million in pain and suffering and $10 million in punitive damages.

“The significance of the $17 million is that’s how much damage Judge Pearson found Heinrich did to Jared’s life,” said Kelley.

As part of a plea deal two years ago, Heinrich confessed to assaulting Scheierl and killing Jacob Wetterling who went missing nine months after Scheierl was attacked.

Since the statute of limitations had passed, the civil suit was the only way to hold Heinrich accountable.

“This is the first time that the legal system has held Heinrich directly liable to Jared,” Kelley said.

Since Heinrich is sitting in a Massachusetts prison for possessing child pornography, Scheierl’s attorney says it is unlikely Jared will ever see a dime, but money was never the point of the lawsuit.

“We will not collect,” he said. “Everyone knows we are not going to collect on this judgement, but I think for Jared this is a big step in his healing process as he goes forward.”