California Woman Sues Hotel For Giving Stranger a Room Key, Resulting in Sexual Assault

An unidentified Southern California woman is suing a hotel because an employee allegedly gave a stranger a key to her room, resulting in her sexual assault.

According to court documents, the incident occurred in April 2014 when the woman was staying in a Holiday Inn in Frazier Park in Kern County. She was there to visit her boyfriend for the weekend. According to the lawsuit, a hotel employee gave the victim’s room key to a man, J.P.

In surveillance footage, J.P. appears visibly intoxicated from drugs and alcohol while speaking to a receptionist at the front desk. J.P. is shown offering the receptionist money for sexual favors. The receptionist declines, then tells threatens to call the police.

The suit claims that just moments later, the receptionist gave J.P. a key to the victim’s hotel room. J.P. told the receptionist that he needed a spare key to his room, and gave the receptionist the name of the victim’s boyfriend. The receptionist is seen giving J.P. a key on the surveillance footage.

There is also footage of J.P. approaching the victim’s room, tinkering with the peephole, then entering. Moments later, J.P. is seen leaving the room partially unclothed.

The victim claims that J.P. sexually assaulted her in the room. The suit further alleges that this was not the first time the hotel had given out room keys to guests without checking their IDs.

The receptionist has indicated that she was not trained to get IDs from guests before giving replacement keys. Holiday Inn claims that it is not at fault because the assault was “unforeseeable.” At a deposition, however, the receptionist and a hotel manager both admitted that they knew violations such as rape could occur if a key was given to the wrong person.

J.P. was criminally convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to three years in prison. The civil suit is scheduled to go to trial in April in Kern County Superior Court in Bakersfield.

In another recent case against a major hotel chain, a Tennesee jury awarded a plaintiff $55 million in her lawsuit against a hotel for giving her stalker an adjacent hotel room, from which he filmed her naked. After a day of deliberations, the jury found that the stalker was responsible for 51 percent of the verdict, and the hotel companies should share the rest (nearly $27 million).

A later FBI investigation revealed that this victim’s stalker shot videos in hotels in Nashville and Columbus and posted them online. The trial, however, focused on the video shot in 2008 at a Nashville Mariott.

The defendant claimed during a deposition that he posted the recording online after celebrity gossip website TMZ refused to buy them. He picked the plaintiff, a Fox Sports reporter and co-host of “Dancing with the Stars,” only because she was trending on Yahoo.

The personal injury lawyers at Neumann Law Group represent victims throughout the Los Angeles area. Call us at (213) 227-0001 for a free consultation.

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