$4 million award in lawsuit over sex abuse from Sugar Grove foster parent

A Kane County judge has awarded $4 million in damages to a man who was sexually abused by a Sugar Grove foster parent in 2004.

The attorney for the victim, identified as John Doe, said his client was vindicated by the ruling even though it will be difficult, if not impossible, to collect the entire amount from Noel F. Buhay, 50, who was convicted earlier this year.

"As we came out of court, my client felt extremely vindicated that the legal system finally acknowledged the truthfulness of what he was saying, the anguish, pain and stress and anxiety and dysfunction he will suffer," attorney George Acosta said.

Judge James Murphy awarded $2 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages.

Acosta said the judgment came after a hearing Friday in which C. Dion Bush, a licensed clinical psychologist who had treated the victim, testified as to the effects the abuse will have such as PTSD.

The victim and one of the victim's friends also testified before Murphy, Acosta said.

"(The award) was exactly what we asked for. We supported the request through witness testimony and documentary evidence," Acosta said. "These (effects) are likely permanent."

Acosta acknowledged it is unlikely Buhay, who declared bankruptcy in the early 2010s and whose home is in foreclosure, could pay the entire amount. He noted Buhay had a six-figure a year job before his arrest, and attorneys could look into his assets. The victim will use money from the judgment for treatment, counseling and education plans.

"There's a couple avenues we're looking into," Acosta said. "Whether we collect 50 percent or 2 percent of it or none of it, a lot was accomplished with the award."

A jury in March convicted Buhay of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child from January 2004 through May 2004. Charges that he sexually assaulted another child from March 2004 through December 2008 are pending.

Buhay is being held at the Kane County jail without bail and is due in court Oct. 13.

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