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Amtrak Can Be Held Liable In Pinner Rape Case

The Associated Press reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge John Johnston, of Great Falls, said that Amtrak can be held liable for damages caused when Charles Henry Pinner, of Detroit, Mich., raped a North Carolina woman as the train traveled through Roosevelt County.

Pinner was eventually found guilty of the April 2015 incident and is currently serving a 60-year prison sentence.

Amtrak initially argued that it was not liable for Pinner’s actions because they were “outside the scope of his work.”

Magistrate Johnston disagreed. He wrote that as a “common carrier” paid for its services, Amtrak had the duty under state law to “use the utmost care and diligence” in providing safe travel and is responsible for employees hired to meet that duty.

Johnston’s recommendation must be approved by U.S. District Judge Brian Morris.

Amtrak did not respond to the Associated Press’ request for comment.

Pinner was found guilty of sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated kidnapping. He was sentenced in 15th Judicial District Court in Wolf Point Jan. 18, 2017.

The then 60-year-old Pinner had been an Amtrak employee for 25 years at the time of the incident.

His victim was a passenger traveling on the train.

Former deputy county attorney Anna Rose Sullivan said that Pinner provided a statement to the courts which included the phrase, “I tried to provide excellent service.”

Court records indicate a settlement conference was held March 22.