This article was printed in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Thursday, January 28, 1993. Geauga
This article was printed in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Thursday,
January 28, 1993. Geauga County is an exurban area just east of
WOMAN WINS $10 MILLION IN "CULT" CASE
By Sabrina Eaton
Plain Dealer Reporter
A Geauga County Common Pleas judge yesterday awarded a $10
million default judgment to a Hiram woman who charged that her father
and other men raped her as a child during "cult" activities in Geauga
and Portage counties.
Geauga County Common Pleas Judge H.F. Indelied issued the
judgment yesterday against James West Pou, a retiree who lives in
Waynesboro, Miss. Pou did not respond to the lawsuit or to The Plain
Dealer's interview requests.
A similar default judgment request against Pou is pending in
Portage County Common Pleas Court. The lawsuits contend the abuse
occurred in Russell Township, Mantua and Hiram from 1963 to 1971.
The Hiram woman, Jamie Ann Sitko, 37, said she doesn't believe
her father has $10 million, but that she sued him "more for the
principle of the thing."
"It is more to let people know that even upstanding citizens can
be capable of some very harmful acts," Sitko said yesterday. "People
need to know that this does happen. If everyone spoke up about it,
it would help others in the long run."
Papers filed in the lawsuit stated that in psychotherapy
sessions, Sitko "vividly recalled incidents which involved men,
including her father, standing in a circle around a fire with hoods,
cat's blood, live cats, dead cats, candles, chants and threats of
violence, to force her compliance, some of which were carried out."
Sitko's brother, James Douglas Pou, 34, also accused their
father of abusing him in a much publicized U.S. Air Force court
martial last year, in which he pleaded guilty to bigamy and
desertion. He did not make mention of any "cult" activities, however.
James [Douglas] Pou, a highly decorated member of an elite
pararescue unit, staged his own disappearance in May 1987 by faking a
bicycling accident on the Rio Grande River. He abandoned a wife and
two young sons.
He made his way to San Diego, married another woman under an
alias, and fathered two children by her before his second wife
reported him to Air Force investigators, after learning he had
impregnated still another San Diego woman.
The Air Force this month charged him with robbing a bank in
Corpus Christi, Texas, of $40,000 in 1988.
At a court martial, Pou blamed his conduct on physical abuse by
his father, and said he disappeared because he feared he would also
abuse his children. The elder Pou appeared at the court martial and
denied allegations of child abuse.
Sitko said yesterday that she had discussed the abuse with her
brother, though her brother's memories "don't yet include anything on
"Don't yet." How typical.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank