Stanley Marsh 3 settles teenagers’ lawsuits
AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — Stanley Marsh 3, an eccentric millionaire artist best known for his “Cadillac Ranch” art display along an interstate in the Texas Panhandle, has settled lawsuits from 10 teenagers who allege he paid them for sex acts, attorneys announced Saturday.
In a statement, plaintiffs’ attorney Anthony Buzbee and Marsh’s attorney Kelly Utsinger said the teenagers and Marsh have resolved their differences and that no side will have further comments. The statement was obtained by the Amarillo Globe-News (http://bit.ly/XWRVcT).
Marsh 3 suffered a massive stroke in 2011 and his wife, Gwendolyn Marsh, was later appointed as his guardian. Marsh 3, his wife, his son, Stanley Marsh IV and associate David Weir settled the 10 civil suits. Marsh 3 uses the Arabic numeral ‘3’ in his legal name; his son uses the more traditional Roman numeral.
Marsh 3 also faces six counts of sexual assault and five counts of sexual performance of a child. The charges accuse the 75-year-old millionaire and artist of molesting a 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy in 2010. The millionaire surrendered to authorities in November and is free on $300,000 bond. If convicted, Marsh 3 faces up to 20 years in prison per count and fines of up to $10,000. His lawyers have denied the allegations.
The civil suits alleged Marsh 3 gave the teen boys cash, alcohol, drugs and in one case, two BMWs, to perform sex acts with him during secret encounters at his office. In one of the civil cases, a teen plaintiff claimed he had more than 100 sexual encounters with Marsh 3 in his office and Toad Hall home in Amarillo.
Special prosecutor Matt Powell did not immediately reply to a request for comment on whether the settlement affects the criminal case.
When Marsh 3 was arrested last year, his lawyers issued a statement saying the charges were “mere allegations by the group of accusers who have filed a barrage of civil lawsuits ... seeking millions of dollars.” The statement said that the accusers had waited to come forward until after Marsh 3 suffered a massive stroke and was legally incapacitated.
Amarillo police have said they found evidence during their search of Marsh 3′s offices that corroborated “the accounts of sexual exploitation of minors.” Police seized 70 envelopes of blue pills, signed confidentiality agreements, two Apple computers, couch cushion covers and a photo of a nude male, a search warrant inventory report said. Investigators also found 11 copies of blank or unsigned “release and waiver” documents in a drawer in Marsh 3′s private office, according to the police investigation inventory.
A witness had told police that Marsh 3′s office had a large bed and a bottle of Viagra, which he would give to the teenager.
In 1998, Marsh 3 pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of unlawful restraint and criminal trespassing as part of an agreement that dismissed five felony charges that included kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapons and indecency with a child. He served 10 days in jail and paid $4,000 in fines.
Marsh 3 is probably best known for planting 10 brightly painted Cadillacs nose down along Interstate 40 in the Panhandle in the 1970s. The cars, ranging from a 1948 club coupe to a 1963 sedan and gathered from junkyards, private collectors and used car lots, have since become a pop art landmark.
Information from: Amarillo Globe-News, http://www.amarillo.com