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New York investment banker Alison Fournier filed suit against Starwood Hotels over a sexual assault she says happened in last January in Helsinki, Finland in the Hotel Kamp. Fournier, then age 30, was asleep in her locked hotel room when an intoxicated man told the front desk he was her husband, got a key to her room and climbed into her bed. She awoke to find him "groping at her naked body" and "she was certain she was about to be raped." Fournier managed to jump out of the bed, grab a bathrobe and escape.
The assailant received the key without any “basic security protocols, such as asking for identification, searching hotel records to see whether Ms. Fournier was registered alone or with a traveling companion, or calling her room to check the man’s story, the desk clerk simply handed the man Ms. Fournier’s room key allowing him to gain access to her room,” according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by Fournier's attorney Gloria Allred.
Allred has represented many clients in high profile situations including Tiger Woods' alleged mistress Rachel Uchitel, Herman Cain's first accuser to come forward Sharon Bialek and many more. Fournier is Allred's latest client. Allred will be on "Piers Morgan Tonight" this month for a full hour to discuss how she decides which clients to represent and the high profile cases that have made her famous in both the legal community and popular culture.
Fournier has sued the hotel chain for “negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress” and is “seeking compensatory and punitive damages, claiming that her “life has been turned upside down as a result”. Before the incident, Fournier, a Princeton University graduate and Harvard Business School MBA, was a Vice President at a prestigious New York investment banking firm. Since the assault Fournier has quit her job and has relocated to Florida.
In January 2011, Fournier traveled to Helsinki, Finland on her first overseas business trip and specifically registered at Hotel Kamp because of its affiliation with the Starwood hotel chain. “Ms. Fournier checked on-line to confirm that she would be staying at a Starwood Hotel because she believed that the Starwood name would insure that the hotel was both safe and top tier,” said Allred at a press conference Monday afternoon.
Fournier spoke out publicly in hopes to warn other women who may be traveling alone of the danger that they may face: “I don’t want this to happen again to any woman traveling for her career," she said. "Business travel is often a critical part of a successful career and women should not have to fear traveling or wonder if they will be targets of violence when they are staying alone in a hotel.”
We reached out to Starwood Hotels for a comment. Their full statement is below:
The safety and security of our guests is our first and foremost priority. It is company-wide policy to ensure proper identification is shown and verified before distributing a key to a registered guest’s room. We are taking this allegation seriously and are working with the hotel in question to understand the facts and any breach of security that may have contributed to this very unfortunate event.