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Saturday, Sep 23, 2017
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Family of library rape victim sues attacker's family

TAMPA - The family of an East Bay High School student who was beaten and raped outside a Bloomingdale library four years ago is suing relatives of the attacker. The victim, who was 18 at the time, was left unable to see, eat, walk or speak. Kendrick Morris was convicted last year of attacking the woman, and is serving 65 years in prison for the attack and a previous assault on a day care worker. In a lawsuit filed April 23 in Hillsborough County, Morris' mother, Lisa Stevens, and his grandmother, Lucina Stevens, are named as defendants. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the victim's family by Brandon attorney Gene Odom. Neither of the Stevenses could be reached for comment Thursday.
The lawsuit says Morris, now 20, had a juvenile arrest record and a history of violent behavior before the April 2008 attack. Authorities had released him to the custodial care of his mother and grandmother. The lawsuit says Lisa Stevens and Lucina Stevens regularly allowed Morris to violate his mandated curfew — 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. — including the night the student was attacked outside the library. "He is paying for his criminal debt, but there is a financial debt shared among many people," Odom said. In November, the victim's family sued the companies that designed and built the library. That lawsuit names general contractor Angle & Schmid and FleischmanGarcia, architects and planners, as defendants. At issue is the design of an after-hours book drop that requires patrons to exit their vehicles and walk to a container. Morris approached the victim as she tried to return books. That lawsuit remains unresolved, Odom said. The family of the victim, now is in her 20s, is determined to ensure public places frequented by children are safe, Odom said.

kknight@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7413

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