Beliefnet
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Here’s why

The Compton Superior Court jury voted 9-3 Monday to award damages of $952,819 to Maria Vega, 57, for emotional distress, defamation and battery, said her attorney, Victor George.

Vega said she was teaching catechism at St. Emydius Church in Lynwood when the Rev. Dennis O’Neil disagreed with the way she was teaching principles of the Catholic faith. George said the argument in November 1999 culminated with O’Neil punching Vega above the ear.

The trial began in October but was halted 20 days into the proceedings when O’Neil died at age 60. A mistrial was declared and a new trial started Nov. 10.

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