An elderly woman is suing a Quality Inn hotel desk clerk, franchisee, and chain owner after she was raped by a former Connecticut State Trooper while staying at a Quality Inn in Windsor Locks. Her lawsuit claims that they were negligent by failing to protect her from harm.
The 83-year-old victim, identified in the lawsuit only as “Jane Doe,” is a California resident. She was raped on June 5, 2014 while staying at the hotel on Ella Grasso Turnpike. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in late July against Angel Hicks, the desk clerk; Sahil Inc. of Massachusetts, the hotel franchisee; and Choice Hotels International Inc. of Maryland, the owner of Quality Inn. According to the lawsuit, Doe was staying at the Quality Inn while visiting her husband, who was receiving treatment at a long-term care facility for late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Doe reportedly visited The Fan Club Sports Bar & Grill inside the hotel around 9 p.m. on June 5, 2014. She ordered a glass of wine from the bartender and was soon joined by 44 year-old former State Trooper Jeffrey LaPorto. The two reportedly discussed topics such as Doe’s grandchildren and LaPorto’s experience as a Connecticut State Police Trooper. According to the lawsuit, the State Police had terminated LaPorto in December 2010 following internal affairs investigations, which included allegations of sexual misconduct toward women.
Just before midnight, Doe stated that she felt intoxicated and wished to return to her room. LaPorto offered to escort her to her room and Doe agreed, believing LaPorto to be acting chivalrously. Doe could not find her room key, so she and LaPorto approached the front desk to ask Hicks, the desk clerk, to make a new one. LaPorto then attempted to escort Doe to her room. Hicks found Doe and LaPorto wandering around the second floor, unable to find the room. She escorted both Doe and LaPorto to Doe’s first floor room, where LaPorto forced Doe inside, slammed the door, and locked both deadbolts. Hicks reportedly listened at the door for a moment, but having heard no loud noises, she returned to the front desk and “took no further action.”
The lawsuit claims LaPorto ordered Doe to remove her clothes, threw her on the bed, pinned her down, and forcibly raped her. After he left, Doe called one of her children and told him she had been raped. Doe’s son called the Windsor Locks Police Department and telephoned the Quality Inn.
“Hicks told Doe’s son she had been afraid LaPorto would rape Doe because LaPorto had been acting ‘sketchy,'” the lawsuit states.
Results of Doe’s rape screening were consistent with forcible rape. LaPorto’s DNA matched the semen left by the perpetrator, according to the lawsuit. LaPorto is serving a two-year sentence at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield.
The lawsuit claims Hicks was negligent and breached her duty to protect Doe against risk of physical harm in multiple ways, including handing LaPorto the key card to Doe’s room, leading LaPorto to Doe’s room, allowing him to enter the room with Doe, and not checking on Doe afterward.
“LaPorto would not have raped Doe were it not for Hicks’ acts and omissions,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit also claims Sahil, as innkeeper, and Choice Hotels, as the franchisor, were negligent for not providing adequate security by failing to have working security cameras in the common areas and not providing adequate training to employees on how to ensure guest safety.
If you have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, the Connecticut personal injury lawyers at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC will aggressively fight to protect your legal rights and the rights of your family members, and to pursue fair compensation for injuries suffered due to the negligence of others. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC for a free case evaluation.