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Former Prisoner Durant’s Sister Sues Father; Charges Child Sexual Abuse

January 10, 1994

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ The sister of Army pilot Michael Durant is suing their father for $5 million, alleging he sexually abused her for years.

Mary Durant’s lawsuit alleges the abuse began when she was a toddler and continued until she was 19.

Durant, 31, said she filed the lawsuit because her father, Leon, didn’t honor written promises made in 1991 to get treatment.

Leon Durant was away for the weekend on a National Guard mission. His wife, Louise, said she was very upset to learn of the lawsuit.

″As though we haven’t had enough,″ she told the New Hampshire Sunday News. The Durants did not return a telephone message left by The Associated Press on Sunday.

The couple’s son, Michael, was held captive in Somalia for 11 days after his helicopter was shot down Oct. 3 by forces loyal to Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Less than a week after his release, Leon Durant’s sister-in-law died in an accidental house fire.

Mary Durant, a registered nurse who lives with her husband in Hyattsville, Md., said in her lawsuit that she suffered from depression, multiple personality disorder and post traumatic stress syndrome as a result of the alleged abuse.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, includes copies of agreements that appear to have been signed by Leon Durant admitting to the sexual abuse.

Louise Durant said the agreements were not legal, and she remembered they said Mary Durant wouldn’t press criminal or civil charges.

″I wasn’t here, but I would say he signed them under duress,″ she said.

An agreement dated Nov. 23, 1991, stated Leon Durant would obtain treatment for being a child molester and for alcoholism, pay for his daughter’s therapy and not commit suicide. In exchange, Mary Durant promised never to press criminal charges or file a lawsuit against her father.

Mary Durant tried to file criminal charges last week, but was told the statue of limitations had expired, said Berlin police Capt. Barney Valliere.

Reached at his Clarksville, Tenn., home, Michael Durant said it was up to his father to handle the matter.

″I haven’t had a chance to talk to my parents. I don’t know how they want to handle this. I’m on the sidelines on this one,″ he told the newspaper.

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