Pacific mayor civil suit for alleged sexual abuse

Pacific Mayor Cy Sun in the Control Room at City Hall. - Shawn Skager/Reporter
Pacific Mayor Cy Sun in the Control Room at City Hall.
— image credit: Shawn Skager/Reporter

A decades old allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has resurfaced to haunt Pacific Mayor Cy Sun.

Kathy Carbaugh, 57, filed a civil suit with Pierce County Superior Court on Aug. 1, alleging Sun sexually assaulted and molested her in the late-1960s, when they were neighbors in Fife Heights, near Tacoma. Carbaugh claims Sun began sexually abusing her in the summer of 1968, when she was 14 and continued until she was 16.

This is not the first time Sun has had to face the allegations of having sexually abused Carbaugh. Although Sun was never charged with a crime, Carbaugh’s family sued him in 1970, seeking $10,000 in damages, for “shock, fear and humiliation” and future medical expenses, according to documents obtained from the Pierce County Superior Court.

Sun countersued the Carbaugh family for defamation, seeking $1 million in damages.

After a jury trial in the Summer of 1972, Carbaugh’s case was dismissed and the jury ruled in favor of Sun for $30,000, which was later reduced to $1, according to court documents.

In October of 1972, both parties moved to have the cases dismissed with prejudice, meaning neither case could not be brought back to court.

Carbaugh’s attorney Darrell Cochran, however, said the new claim is valid because the original trial didn’t deal specifically with Carbaugh’s claims of abuse.

“The case did not involve our client or any sexual abuse claims by her,” Cochran said. “As we understand, the (original) claims arise out of a reported attack by Cy Sun on the mom.”

Although not mentioned in Carbaugh’s original complaint, filed in July of 1970, Sun’s defamation suit does claim false and defamatory statements were made, alleging he “attempted to rape the said Margaret Carbaugh,” Carbaugh’s mother.

Cochran added the original case was “not dismissed on a motion or any legal basis,” but rather on a “settlement between Sun and the Carbaugh family.”

According to Sun, who is facing recall efforts by citizens of Pacific, he was shocked when the case resurfaced last week.

“To tell the truth, I can’t remember her now,” he said. “It’s so long ago. The case didn’t last very long and they awarded me $30,000.”

Sun continued to deny that he had ever sexually abused Carbaugh.

“Hell, I hardly knew who she was, I had just moved there for three months,” he said.

Carbaugh, who now lives in California, told the Seattle Times that she decided to revisit the allegations after seeing Sun on television.

“He looked hunched over, stooped, hard of hearing, and I am terrified of him,” she said. “I shouldn’t be. I should not be afraid of that man any longer.”

She added that although her suit does ask for unspecified monetary damages and attorney fees, it’s not about money.

“Never has that been a part of this at all,” she told the Seattle Times. “I want to be told that I am believed. That people understand and know that I am telling the truth about the essence of what he did.”

“It was the day and age, the atmosphere and the culture that existed,” she added. “You needed to be hospitalized, to have visual wounds and injuries for someone to say, ‘OK, maybe.’ ”

The case is scheduled to begin in Pierce County Superior Court on July 31, 2013.

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