BOSTON — A former dean of a Boston high school affectionately known as “Rev” by students has been ordered by a federal judge to pay more than $10 million in damages to a former student he tried to kill in a dispute over the sale of drugs.
Friday’s default judgment against former English high school dean Shaun Harrison includes $7.5 million in damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress; $2.5 million in punitive damages; and more than $80,000 for the victim’s medical bills.
Harrison was convicted of assault and other charges by the state court in 2018, and sentenced to up to 26 years in prison.
Harrison, who had a background as a community organizer and youth minister, was dean of academics, a job that involved keeping order and mentoring students, according to testimonies at the trial.
But he led a double life, authorities said. He had ties to the violent Latin Kings gang, recruited students to sell him drugs, and kept a gun in his apartment.
Harrison denied the charges, telling a Boston television station that he “never lived a double life.”
The victim, who had been recruited by Harrison to sell marijuana, was 17 when he was shot in the head at close range on a snowy Boston street in March 2015.
The bullet barely missed the victim’s brainstem and carotid artery, but shattered his jaw. He underwent two surgeries, had his jaw closed for nine months, remains paralyzed on half his face, suffers from facial neuropathy, hearing loss and requires weights on his eyelids to help open and close his eyes, according to court documents. He continues to experience pain from the bullet lodged in his head and developed an addiction to opioids prescribed for the pain.
No attorney for Harrison was named in the civil suit filed by the victim in 2019.
It is unclear whether the victim will ever receive any money from Harrison.
“The verdict against Mr. Harrison as an individual will ensure that he will never benefit from any efforts when he is released from prison, including selling the rights to this story for publication,” said plaintiff’s attorney John Martin in an email. Saturday.
The Boston Public Schools was also named as a defendant, but the judge dismissed claims against the system. That ruling is being appealed, Martin said.
“Boston Public Schools was absolutely dismissive of student safety and gross negligence when it allowed a predator a position of trust and authority over that school after multiple incidents that should have resulted in his dismissal,” he wrote.