Woman sues hotel, desk clerk after former Conn. State Police trooper rapes her
WINDSOR LOCKS–A sexual assault victim is suing the hotel she was raped in, as well as one of the hotel’s employees.
On June 5, 2015, an unidentified elderly woman was staying in the Quality Inn on Ella Grasso Turnpike in Windsor Locks.
The woman, who is now 83, had flown to Connecticut from her home in California to spend time with her husband, who was being treated at a long-term care facility for late-stage Alzheimer’s disease. While at the hotel, she visited the hotel bar, the Fan Club Sports Bar and Grill, around 9 p.m.
She sat down and ordered a glass of wine, and a short time later a man sat down next to her, though he wasn’t staying at the hotel. That man, later identified as Jeffrey LaPorto, 44, chatted with the victim for some time about her grandkids, and his time working as a Connecticut State Police trooper. LaPorto was no longer an employee with the State Police, and had been fired in 2010 after an internal affairs investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct towards women.
The Connecticut Law Tribune, which obtained the court documents and lawsuit, says the suit claims the victim had two to three glasses of wine, according to the bartender, and the two left the bar around 11:45. The lawsuit says that the woman thought LaPorto was being “chivalrous” when he offered to walk her to her room. However, she couldn’t find a key, so the two made their way down to the front desk.
The front desk employee, Angel Hicks, made a new key for the victim and handed it over to LaPorto, though he was not a guest at the hotel.
About 15 minutes later the bartender approached the front desk and told Hicks she was concerned that the man posed a threat to the woman, and the bartender asked Hicks to find them and check on the elderly woman’s safety.
Hicks found them around 12:10 a.m. on the second floor, though the woman was staying on the first floor. The woman seemed confused, and LaPorto was close behind her. Hicks led the two back to the woman’s room and watched LaPorto insert the key, force the woman through the door, slide in, and then slam it and deadbolt it. She listened at the door for a few moments, but didn’t hear any loud noises and returned to her station.
LaPorto claimed the two had consensual sex, but the woman said LaPorto told her to remove her clothes, then threw her on the bed, pinned her down, and raped her. A hospital examination indicated her injuries were consistent with being held down against her will, and not with consensual sex.
LaPorto was arrested on June 6, 2014, and his DNA indicated he was involved in the incident.
When LaPorto left, the victim called one of her children, who called both the Windsor Locks Police Department and the Quality Inn. When Hicks answered the hotel’s phone, she is said to have told the victim’s son that she was afraid LaPorto would rape the victim because he was acting “sketchy,” according to the lawsuit.
Despite claims of his innocence, in July 2015, LaPorto pleaded no contest to first-degree sexual assault. He is serving a two-year sentence for the crime.
The victim has filed a lawsuit against the desk clerk, Angel Hicks; Sahil Inc., which owns the hotel franchise; and Choice Hotels International Inc., which owns Quallity Inn. The victim claims she needed both psychical and psychological treatment, and that the ordeal cost her precious time with her dying husband in his last few months.
The suit claims Hicks was negligent and breached her duty to protect the victim against a risk of physical harm by handing LaPorto the key, leading them to her room, and allowing him to enter, as well as not checking up on her later on.
“LaPorto would not have raped Doe were it not for Hicks’ acts and omissions,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit against the franchise and hotel chain claim negligence for not providing adequate security due to a lack of working security cameras in common areas. It also claims the employers didn’t properly train employees on how to ensure guest safety.
The Connecticut Law Tribune says the case could impact the entire hospitality industry because it brings to the forefront what culpability hotels and hotel employees have in protecting guests, and where liability lies if a guest is assaulted.
Read more on the Connecticut Law Tribune’s website.