If you ever find yourself in Des Moines, Iowa, you could probably do better than choosing the Embassy Suites chain as a place to rest your head at night.
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A lady named Cheri Marchionda has just settled a lawsuit with the hotel after staff at its Des Moines location let a man named Christopher LaPointe into her room to rape her.
Christopher had met Cheri at the hotel bar earlier that evening while she was visiting the city on business. He tried his luck with her, she rejected him, and that should have been that.
Instead, after Cheri went to bed, Christopher convinced hotel staff that she was his girlfriend and had locked him out of the room after an argument.
Did they ask for proof that he was staying at the hotel or that he had permission to enter the room or even that he was who he said he was? Nope, but they happily handed him a key to her room anyway. Dude must have serious gift of the gab (well, except when it comes to picking up women in hotel bars).
Even more disturbingly, a maintenance worker helped Christopher open up a safety latch that Cheri had engaged for extra security.
She woke to find him touching her leg, and Christopher then battered and raped her over the course of the next few hours.
Cheri described the scene to CBS:
I woke up thinking I was at home.
So at first I’m like, rubbing my eyes. I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. No, you’re in this room, and then who is this guy?’
And so, you know, in these seconds, you’re trying to process, like, who is this person at the end of your bed?
(He told me) ‘You’re not gonna scream rape’.
All I thought about was surviving.
Christopher admitted burglary and sexual abuse charges and was given 20 years in prison, so that’s good. As for Cheri she reached a settlement with the hotel chain right before she was due to testify against them, so that’s good too.
I imagine the front desk staff at the hotel have been given the bollocking of a lifetime and at the very least received further training to make sure this sort of thing never happens again.
If you’ve got a choice, stay at the Batman Hotel instead.