|By Scott Daugherty, The
Virginian-PilotMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 11, 2012--SUFFOLK -- A hotel has agreed to pay a former housekeeper $675,000 after she was sexually assaulted in a room by a co-worker who was a registered sex offender, according to court documents.
In a lawsuit, the housekeeper claimed her bosses should have known Robert Eugene Williams "posed a threat of injury to others" before she was attacked March 28, 2010, at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront on East Constance Road.
The Virginian-Pilot is not naming the housekeeper because of the nature of the attack.
Julia Keller, an attorney for the housekeeper, and Mark Nanavati, an attorney for the hotel's parent company, Suffolk Lodging Partners LLC, declined to comment on the settlement reached. In court filings, Nanavati said his client was unaware of Williams' criminal history until after the assault and Williams was hired before his client purchased the hotel in 2008.
Williams was sentenced in December 2010 to two life sentences for forcible sodomy and abduction. The 42-year-old Suffolk man had pleaded guilty in 2004 to aggravated sexual battery and received two years in prison.
According to court testimony, the victim -- then 18 -- was attacked on her fourth day on the job. She was cleaning a room when Williams entered and started taking her picture. When she asked him to stop, he fondled her and held her arms to her sides. He raped her on the bed she was making.
While the victim has received her settlement check, the hotel and two of its insurance companies are still arguing in federal court over who is responsible for the payout.
A separate lawsuit in Suffolk Circuit Court is pending between Suffolk Lodging Partners and the previous manager of the hotel, Noble Management Group LLC.
In court filings, Nanavati claims the hotel manager who initially hired Williams was aware of his history of sexual misconduct, and that Noble should have warned his client about Williams.
Scott Daugherty, 757-222-5221, firstname.lastname@example.org
(c)2012 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
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