Lawsuit Faults Hotel Chain for Assault on Guest

A woman says a drunk man used a keycard given to her by the front desk to get into her hotel room in Finland and assaulted her.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Attorney Gloria Allred listens as her client Alison Fournier, left, announces her lawsuit against the Hotel Kamp, a Starwood Hotel, in Helsinki, Findland, Monday in New York.

    A former investment banker who says she was sexually assaulted after a hotel desk clerk in Finland gave a copy of her room key to a drunken fellow guest because he claimed to be her husband filed a lawsuit against the Starwood hotel chain on Monday.

    Alison Fournier said she left her job after the Jan. 15 assault and moved from New York to Florida to be near her family.

    "To this day, I still suffer from the memories of that night, and I am not able to put it behind me," Fournier said at a Manhattan news conference at which she was joined by high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred.

    Fournier said the man entered her room at the Hotel Kamp in Helsinki at 4 a.m. and began groping her in bed. She said she was terrified that she was going to be raped but grabbed a bathrobe and fled.

    "I don't want this to happen again to any woman traveling for her career," Fournier said.

    Allred, who in a nationally televised news conference in November stood with a Chicago woman accusing former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of forcing himself on her, said the hotel clerk gave Fournier's key to the drunken fellow guest without checking his identification. She said Fournier, 31, was traveling alone and no one else was registered to her room.

    The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

    Allred said the man who assaulted her client hasn't been criminally prosecuted.

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., which is based in Stamford, Conn., and has 1,071 properties worldwide, said in a statement, "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."

    Fournier said she had often stayed at Starwood hotels and expected "a certain level of security" there.

    The Associated Press generally does not name people who report being sexually assaulted unless they choose to identify themselves publicly, as Fournier has done.

    Cain denied the allegations made by the Chicago woman. He suspended his presidential campaign.