Pechanga Casino Guest Files $10M Claim for Alleged Sexual Assault by Worker
Posted on: September 26, 2020, 05:55h.
Last updated on: September 27, 2020, 11:22h.
California’s Pechanga Resort Casino is facing a $10 million claim from a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted in March by a male hotel employee while she was in her room.
The victim, identified as “Michele,”was physically injured during the March 14 attack and yelled at the employee to stop, according to a claim released to Casino.org by the woman’s attorney, high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred.
The incident began when the woman was attempting to reenter her fourth-floor room, and the key card malfunctioned. Michele called for help.
Eventually, with assistance from an employee and a supervisor, the door was opened. But while standing outside with Michele, the employee repeatedly had her confirm she was staying alone.
Michele entered her room. She was preparing to go to bed, and was only partially clothed.
She heard a knock at the door. She opened the door.
The employee had returned to her room. He was alone.
She asked what he wanted. The employee then “repeatedly pressured” her to let him into her room, the claim said. He asked “multiple times if she needed anything.”
He finally entered the room. The employee then “needlessly removed a champagne bottle from the … minibar,” the claim said. He poured her a glass of champagne.
Earlier that night, she had been drinking alcohol on the gaming floor and appeared intoxicated before reentering the room, the claim said.
The employee then allegedly sexually assaulted her. He bit and physically injured Michele during the attack, the claim says.
Michele yelled for the employee to get off of her. But she claimed the employee continued to sexually assault Michele.
Eventually, the employee left her room. Michele promptly called the hotel’s front desk to report the incident.
Sheriff’s deputies and casino security were notified and arrived at the room. Michele was transported to Temecula Valley Hospital, where she was examined with a rape kit. A nurse confirmed injuries to Michele’s body.
Intoxicated Victim Cannot Give Consent
So far, the District Attorney in Riverside County has not prosecuted the employee. The guest’s inebriated condition could be key in any criminal charges.
“Due to her known intoxication, Michele was incapable of giving legal consent to the employee for any sexual contact,” Allred said. Michele was repeatedly described in statements as being intoxicated or “wasted.”
“Michele has been willing to come forward … not only because of what she has suffered, but because we have reason to believe that there are many rape cases in California with similar facts that are not being prosecuted. In other words, women who become intoxicated often become victims of sexual violence while they are under the influence,” Allred said.
During a Thursday press conference, Michele sobbed. “I have … gone through the worst time of my life…. After the sexual assault, I was a wreck dealing with feelings of anger, sadness, depression, shame, and disbelief,” she told reporters.
The person who raped me was an employee at Pechanga, and because he was an employee, I put my trust in him, believing that he would act in my best interest to help me. Well, the only thing he helped me with was ruining my life,” she added.
She says she was “victimized again by the D.A.’s office when I was told they weren’t going to prosecute.”
The name and title of the employee were not identified in the claim. It is unclear if he is still working at the hotel.
Casino.org reached out to Pechanga Resort Casino for comment. They did not provide a statement as of the time of publication.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said the case was still under review, KCAL TV, a local station, reported.
Providing a claim is an initial step before filing a formal lawsuit in court.
Other Casinos Scenes of Alleged Sexual Assaults by Employees
Similar allegations against other casinos have been made by female guests. In July 2019, a maintenance worker at Las Vegas’ Circus Circus Hotel was arrested after an intoxicated guest accused him of sexually assaulting her in her hotel room, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Earlier, in 2014, a security worker at Las Vegas’ Aria Resort and Casino used a master key to enter a woman’s room. She was asleep, and he allegedly sexually assaulted her, according to Courthouse News Service.
Last November, Las Vegas police arrested a one-time Four Queens security guard for several sexual assault charges connected to the property.
The disposition of these cases could not be determined immediately on Friday.
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