Former Tufts Medical School professor William Douglas has agreed to pay $20,000 to the parents of the woman he killed in 1983 and to share with them half of any revenue he might receive from retelling the tale of the killing, a source reported yesterday.At the same time, the attorney for Robin Benedict’s family said the victim’s mother met Monday with Douglas in Connecticut, but came away with no new information on the whereabouts of the then 21-year-old woman’s body.
The source, who requested anonymity, said Douglas’ promises of payment are contained in a settlement in a $29 million wrongful death suit filed in September 1984 by the estate of Robin Benedict. Any money paid by Douglas, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 1984, would go to Benedict’s parents, John and Shirley Benedict, the source said. Neither Douglas nor his lawyer, Damon Scarano, could be reached for comment. Shirley Benedict refused to comment. Anthony DiFruscia of Lawrence, the attorney for the Benedict family, confirmed that settlement papers in the suit will be filed today in Middlesex Superior Court. But he refused to discuss financial terms of the settlement.”The money is not the issue in the case at all,” he said. “It was never a consideration. No money in the world can bring back a lost child.”
DiFruscia said that Douglas, paroled June 3 after serving nearly 10 years of an 18-to-20-year sentence for killing Benedict, met with Shirley Benedict for two hours in a public setting in Connecticut, where Douglas now lives.
“Part of the settlement is that he would meet with the Benedicts,” said DiFruscia.
The lawyer also said that under the settlement, signed by Douglas in November and the Benedicts in May, Douglas has provided a written apology. He also has retracted statements made in response to the suit that Robin Benedict introduced him to cocaine. DiFruscia said that Douglas offered no new information concerning where he disposed of Robin Benedict’s body, but that additional meetings are possible. Douglas, 51, had been involved in a yearlong affair with Benedict, a graphic artist turned prostitute who charged $100 an hour to spend time with him. Douglas told authorities he disposed of Benedict’s body in a dumpster after beating her to death with a hammer in his Sharon home in March 1983. The dumpster contents were traced to a Rhode Island landfill, but the body was never found. The Benedicts have said they do not believe Douglas and hope he will provide information on where he left the body, so they can bury their daughter. DiFruscia called the Monday session “a tense meeting.” In addition to Benedict and Douglas, DiFruscia, his wife, Kathleen Sullivan-DiFruscia, also an attorney, and Scarano attended the Monday meeting, DiFruscia said.