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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

August-18-09

Marriott Retracts Victim-Blaming Defense Strategy

Lawyers representing the Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa withdrew special defenses Monday in a lawsuit involving a woman who was raped at gunpoint in the hotel's parking garage in front of her children. In court documents, the hotel originally argued that the woman was negligent and "failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities," reported the Stamford Advocate. Four other "special defenses" were also outlined in court documents, including that the woman, known as "Jane Doe," and her children failed to "mitigate their damages."

Attorneys for Jane Doe released a statement regarding the special defenses that stated,
"Under the facts of this case, blaming the victim is without any justification whatsoever. It never had any place in this litigation and it has re-traumatized the victim," reported the Connecticut Post. A lawyer for Mariott’s insurance company told the Connecticut Post that "no one wants to blame this woman for this" and that lawyers had not completed a deposition of the victim when they filed the claims. "We did not know what actually transpired in the garage that day," he said.

Jane Doe's lawsuit against Mariott alleges that the hotel did not appropriately monitor the parking lot, train employees in security, or take sufficient security precautions, according to the Associated Press. Her attacker, Gary Fricker, pled guilty to aggravated sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping, and risk of injury to a minor and is currently serving 20 years in prison.

Media Resources: Connecticut Post 8/17/09; Stamford Advocate 8/14/09; Associated Press 8/17/09


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