DES MOINES, Iowa – An Iowa hotel is housed in a lawsuit with a New Jersey woman who was raped and tortured after the reception gave the attacker her room key.
Attorneys for Cheri Marchionda say the operators of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Des Moines, agreed to a settlement before she was set to testify on Wednesday. Terms were not disclosed.
According to court records, Marchionda was the stay in the hotel as part of a business trip and was in the bar of the hotel, when a man, later identified as Christopher LaPointe of New York, approached her. They rejected LaPointe advances.
She later wakes up to find LaPointe in her room and touching her leg. He battered and sexually abused her over a number of hours.
The police later learned that LaPointe had asked the reception and were given a key to Marchionda the room, without having to provide proof that he is registered in the room or even a hotel guest. When he had difficulty getting in because Marchionda was working on the door of the security lock, LaPointe convinced that a maintenance worker to shut it off, tells the employee that he had had a fight with his “girlfriend” and they had locked him in the room.
Researchers say that the maintenance of the employee leave LaPointe without guidance, and to the left.
The Associated Press typically does not name victims of sexual violence, but Marchionda’s lawyer, Peter Villari, said she and revealed her name in the hope of serving as an advocate for fire safety and victims of sexual violence.
A attorney Des Moines for Hammons Inc. and the Atrium TRS III, the operators of the hotel, did not immediately return a telephone message Wednesday. The Embassy Suites franchise and Hilton Worldwide had previously been dismissed from the lawsuit.
Villari, said that his client suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from the attack, which she is losing her executive sales job. Her doctor says that she needs a minimum of six months of treatment for her PTSD before they can start back to work.
“It is a long struggle for this woman,” Villari said. “She is very happy that it is resolved.”