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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Woman Says Hotel Ignored Screams for Help

DALLAS (CN) - When men broke into her room at a La Quinta Inn and raped her, says the plaintiff, management responded to her screams by accepting the word of a male voice behind a closed door who promised that "no criminal activity was in progress."

Jane Doe seeks punitive damages from La Quinta Austin North, in Dallas County Court.

Doe, a catering company worker, says she was in Austin on Jan. 17-18 to work at Gov. Rick Perry's most recent inauguration. She says the Dallas catering and restaurant firm she worked for was contracted to cater the inauguration, and that her employer reserved a block of rooms at the hotel.

On the evening of Jan. 17, she says, her roommate was assigned to work, so she turned in early, locking the door before falling asleep.

"Sometime in the late night of January 17, 2011 or in the early morning hours of January 18, 2011, a group of men numbering at least three and possibly five forced their way into the plaintiff's hotel room," according to the complaint.

"Plaintiff would show that in the subsequent hours, she was repeatedly raped, sexually assaulted, and physically and mentally traumatized as she repeatedly screamed for help. On multiple occasions, the occupants of adjoining rooms contacted the front office of defendant's establishment to complain about the screams and cries emanating from plaintiff's room. ...

"(O)n at least two occasions, a representative of defendant approached and knocked on the door of the plaintiff's room only to be met by an unidentified male or males who assured said representative that no criminal activity was in progress. Although plaintiff's room was reserved in her name, the defendants' representative neither asked nor talked to the plaintiff in order to verify her security and safety. Plaintiff would further show that the entry door to the plaintiff's room had been broken and the defendant's representative either did not notice or disregarded signs of a forced entry.

"Plaintiff awoke the next morning, beaten, bruised and sexually violated. She immediately reported the assault to the Austin Police Department, who conducted an investigation and obtained a confession from at least one individual. As a result of the continuous and repeated sexual assaults and rapes, plaintiff has suffered severe mental and emotional anguish and injuries which in all likelihood will follow her for the rest of her life."

She seeks punitive damages for premises liability and negligence

She is represented by Lawrence Mealer.

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