Former National Bar President Must Face Rape-Related Lawsuit

TAMPA, Fla. (CN) – A former president of the National Bar Association must face a lawsuit over a conference party where a female attorney claims she was drugged and raped, a federal judge ruled.

As recounted by U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. in his 18-page ruling issued Monday, April Ademiluyi attended a 2012 National Bar Association event in Florida celebrating former association presidents Daryl Parks and Benjamin Crump for their work on the Trayvon Martin wrongful death case.

As part of the NBA conference, Parks hosted a party with food and drinks at a hospitality suite inside a Tampa hotel.

Ademiluyi claims another attorney in attendance, David Phillips, poured her a glass of wine spiked with GHB, a depressant commonly referred to as a date-rape drug.

Afterward, she says Phillips and another attorney brought her to a hotel room and raped her.

After returning to Maryland, Ademiluyi sought medical attention, including a drug test that revealed the presence of GHB in her system.

She later contacted the Tampa Police Department to report the rape, but they dropped the investigation, according to court records.

In her original 2015 pro se complaint, Ademiluyi alleged the association, Parks and Crump conspired to cover up the incident. She claimed Parks knew Phillips was regularly drugging and raping women at NBA events and failed to warn her.

In addition, she said Parks and Crump contacted the Tampa Police Department, state attorney’s office and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as part of the alleged cover-up.

According to court records, the Tampa Police Department recorded a phone call between Ademiluyi and Phillips during which Phillips allegedly said that “sex is most enjoyable for him when he is taking advantage of women . . . who are too inebriated to consent.”

Ademiluyi claims the police altered and destroyed the original recording.

Her complaint, originally filed in Maryland but transferred to Florida, sought $20.6 million in damages.

On Monday, Judge Moody dismissed Ademiluyi’s conspiracy claim, finding she “supplies nothing more than speculation” and the allegations are “woefully insufficient to maintain an action against defendants.”

The judge also denied Ademiluyi’s request to add Phillips and several public officials to her complaint.

Moody also dismissed negligence claims against the NBA and Crump, finding the party was hosted by Parks and not the association as a whole.

However, the judge did allow a negligence claim against Parks to proceed.

“Plaintiff has alleged Parks knew that Phillips was drugging and/or raping women at NBA events, but failed to warn her about this threat, which directly led to her being drugged and raped by Phillips,” Moody wrote. “At this state in the litigation, these allegations are sufficient to suggest that Parks acted negligently, perhaps grossly so.”

Parks did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Crump, who shares a practice with Parks, also did not respond.

The NBA, a network of mostly African-American attorneys and judges, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday either.

The association, Crump and Parks are represented by Tampa-based attorney Bryan Snyder of Rissman, Barrett, Hurt, Donahue & McLain PA. He could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Phillips, a criminal defense attorney based in Las Vegas, was not named as a defendant in the original or amended complaint.

Ademiluyi dropped a previous lawsuit against Phillips last year, citing the high cost of personally litigating the matter in Nevada. Phillips did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Ademiluyi could not be reached for comment.

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