(SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH) – A 32-year-old woman has filed a civil lawsuit against golfer Steven Poulson, a man that’s also her uncle, alleging that he sexually abused her hundreds of times over a three-year span in the early 1990s, from the ages of 13 to 16.
The lawsuit was filed late last week in the Second Judicial District Court of Davis County, Utah.
Poulson, 55, was 34 years old at the time he allegedly began abusing his 13-year-old niece, Jennifer Tubbs. In 2009, the Utah Golf Association named Poulson senior golfer of the year.
Attorney Tim Kosnoff, one of the country’s leading advocates for sex-abuse victims, is joining Las Vegas attorney Chad Bowers as co-counsel in the case. The victim, Ms. Tubbs, published her full name in court papers, instead of using the initials of her first and last name, as abuse victims often do, in the hopes of encouraging other potential abuse survivors to come forward
“We see this time and again: A victim represses painful memories of sexual abuse trying survive, only to find themselves confronting the horror years down the road,” Kosnoff said.
Bowers added: “The facts in this case are particularly ugly. We’re confident a jury will see this case for what it is.”
In April 1992, the state of Utah approved laws benefitting sex-abuse survivors. For abuse occurring after April 1992 there’s an expanded statute of limitations for civil case. Without these laws, Ms. Tubbs’s claims would be barred by statute.
Court papers say that in 1990, Ms. Tubbs moved from Omaha, Nebraska to Salt Lake City, Utah to reside temporarily with her grandparents. During this time, she traveled to Bountiful Utah to live with Poulson and his wife, Janice Poulson, her aunt, during the week, returning to her grandparents’ home on the weekends.
During this time, Steve Poulson began to sexually abuse Ms. Tubbs, orally raping her and forcing her to perform oral sex on him, court papers say. Steven Poulson also allegedly gave alcohol to the young teenager and videotaped the abuse, which occurred at the Poulson’s then residence in Bountiful, Utah, court papers say.
By summer’s end in 1990, Ms. Tubbs went home to Nebraska, but returned the following summer, residing with both her grandparents and the Poulsons. The abuse continued in 1991 and 1992, and by 1992, Poulson’s molestation escalated to include sexual intercourse, oral sex, attempted anal sex, fondling and other sexual acts, primarily at his residence but at other locations as well.
Court papers say Steven Poulson threatened to kill Ms. Tubbs if she disclosed the abuse and at one point attempted to strangle Ms. Tubbs with the tie from his robe.
Steve Poulson’s alleged abuse of Ms. Tubbs continued through 1993. That year, she was hospitalized after threatening to commit suicide. Ms. Tubbs reported the abuse to a therapist, but no disclosure was ever made to local police, documents say. Last June, Ms. Tubbs contacted the Bountiful Police and made a complaint regarding the abuse. As part of that investigation and with the assistance of the police, she tape-recorded a phone call to Steven Poulson regarding the abuse. In the conversation Steven Poulson acknowledged that videotapes had been made but were destroyed. He also apologized to Ms. Tubbs but refused to discuss the details of his abuse for fear the conversation could be recorded.
Court papers say Ms. Tubbs began taking medication under a doctor’s supervision in 2010, and she began to recall additional incidents of abuse.
Ms. Tubbs later recalled that Poulson’s wife once walked in on her husband kissing and fondling her, but did nothing to stop the abuse and walked out of the room, court papers say. Janice Poulson also is named as a defendant in the case.
Ms. Tubbs is seeking general damages for pain and suffering, special damages for past and future medical expenses, compensation for lost earnings, as well as punitive damages.