William Holden must pay $10.5 million for sexually abusing niece

Categories: Crime

William Holden, child rapist, outside the St. Cloud courthouse
William Holden went to prison for sexually abusing his underage niece. Now, a jury says he must pay her $10 million.

Cathy Olson was under the age of 14 when Holden sexually assaulted her three times in Brainerd. He was convicted of the crimes in 1986. Holden served time, and was later released. The relatives did not communicate until Olson's grandparents died, and then Holden, who was the executor of their will, got in touch.

Olson decided then that she would sue in civil court. She wasn't Holden's only victim; there may have been two others.

"It's actually the largest verdict in the history of Stearns County," says Michael Hall III, lead attorney on the case. "The verdict is so high because the jury is entitled to send a message to would-be perpetrators discouraging them from doing something like this ever again."

Michael Hall.jpg
Attorney Michael Hall III got $10M for his client, a sex abuse victim
The Stearns County jury handed down the verdict this week, ordering Holden to pay $3.03 million in compensatory damages, for the harm that was done to his victim, and $7.5 million in punitive damages, essentially to punish Holden for his crime.

Such a large verdict against an individual sex offender is fairly unusual, Hall noted, simply because most people don't have a lot of money and thus aren't worth suing.

"It's relatively common to get financial, civil damages in sex abuse cases," Hall says. "But usually it's tied to a situation where you had some entity like a church, or a school, or the Boy Scouts, that's taken care of kids, that should have stopped abuse from happening."

In this case, Holden inherited money from his parents. Hall says the perpetrator has somewhere between $750,000 and $1.5 million in assets.

Although the abuse took place decades ago, Olson was still able to sue because of a special provision in the statute of limitations for sex crimes. Because so many abused children repress memories of the sexual abuse, the law limits civil cases in sexual abuse matters to six years after the victim remembers the abuse. And in this particular case, Olson did not remember certain portions of the abuse until 2008.

Her brother and her aunt actually witnessed Holden raping Olson and performing oral sex on her, and were able to remind her of those crimes, and also to testify about them.

Olson decided to prosecute after her uncle got in touch with her about her grandparents' will, acting like a jerk and denying that anything had ever happened, Hall says.

"We wanted justice and I think we got it," Olson told the St. Cloud paper.

Already, the verdict has launched a storm of controversy on the St. Cloud newspaper site, where people are expressing their need to weigh in on this victim's motivations. Here's one choice quote from a commenter calling him or herself "suicyle":

What ever happened to "double jeopardy", how can we put this person through another trial. He was sentenced and did his time. the crime is certainly terrible, but we have sentencing guidelines and punishment that suits the crime. Leave him alone let him carry on with his life. As for the victom she would be better served to move on as well. Life is harsh, spending your life as a professional victom is a terrible way to live.

Hall is offended by the comments suggesting Olson just wanted money. "There's one fact that proves that's not true," he says. "Before my client came to me, she went to another lawyer seeing if she could have him thrown back in jail."

It wasn't until she found out that Holden could not be forced to serve more jail time that she decided to sue civilly.

"Victims carry this pain around forever," Hall says. "But now perpetrators should know that they can't buy their peace by just waiting a few years. They now have to keep looking over their shoulders to see if justice is coming for them."

We think it's great that Holden has to pay. What do you think?

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Good job, Mr.Hall. I'm very impressed.


he did his time and  seeing as i know this family.  she is affter the money. check again affter she found out she could not get him to do more time she  filed a suit seeking  damages?It wasn't until she found out that Holden could not be forced to serve more jail time that she decided to sue civilly.  hmm looks to me that  she was after money? ok what he did was wrong verry verry wrong. but he paid his  debt. and she could not recall the details untill 2008? decades latter come on. what kind of BS is that. she was well rehearsed by her attorney and her brother and aunt  on how to get money out of him. yep just another blood sucking lawyer out there trying to cash in.


Atty. Hall is 1000% Correct.These type of perpetrators think that if they do the time locked up then that cleans the slate..and when they get out all is well. Some even believe if they do the time and get released that clears the slate so cleanly that they can choose another victim or victims and do it all over again and again until they are caught.

The ones who suffer this type of abuse.......be they child or young adult.......can never live with the feeling that they are a whole--clean--worthy--human being again.It takes away their sense of feeling safe around even the people they love and think they can trust.It makes them feel like they have to always be on guard when they meet someone new.It degrades their ability to form future loving and lasting -- stable relationships or marriages.And the money that's spent on getting counseling for these problems isn't refunded by the time the perpetrator spent behind bars.


Way to go slimey sac!


Well he decided to poke the sleeping gorilla with the cage door open and this is what happens. He should have to pay just fore being stupid. It doesn't sound like he felt bad about what he did to her and I think this is a nice piece of justice.

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