Articles Posted in Sexual Assault

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The Archdiocese of Miami is again making news for the wrong reasons. Three former PACE High School students (Hialeah) have filed a civil lawsuit against the diocese and their alleged abusers, Brother Ken Ward and Father Gustavo Miyares, and, there are more to come.

brother ken ward.jpgIn the complaint filed this week by Leesfield Scolaro, the sexual abuse endured by the three young men is described as occurring repeatedly over several years. Brother Ken Ward was the Dean of Students at PACE High School when the alleged abuse took place. Each student was served several alcoholic beverages by Dean Ward to make them compliant. Ward would use pretexts almost on a daily basis to get the boys in his office, at the time the young men were young teenagers. Ward would ask them to take their clothes off after making sure his door was locked and his blinds were shut. He would observe the students bodies from his desk chair while sipping his alcohol-filled diet coke. Inevitably, Ward would walk to the student standing naked in front of him and began touching his body. The abuse would lead to fondling the student’s genitalia, as well as masturbation and digital penetration, and other unspeakable acts.

According to the three plaintiffs, Ward would repeat his abuse on them on a weekly, if not on a daily basis. One of the plaintiffs was also sexually abused when he was a young child at Immaculate Conception Catholic School, an abuse that lasted from Elementary school through high school. During these early years, he became an altar boy, under the care of Father Gustavo Miyares. The latter slowly groomed the child by inviting him to spend time with the priest. The private meetings turned into a horrific extended-period of numerous unauthorized sexual acts, including touching genitals, and inducement of oral and anal stimulation, even as the plaintiff was a pre-teen child.

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Francisco Araica, 26, was arrested this week for sexually assaulting a guest at the Fontainebleau Hotel where Araica works as a masseur.

Last Sunday, a female guest, who was a habitual visitor of the Lapis Spa at the hotel was sexually assaulted during a massage. The victim told police that the assault happened in the middle of the massage. Apparently the victim was in too much fear that Araica would become more violent, she confronted her assailant after the assault had stopped. Approximately 10 minutes later, Araica left the room. She immediately left the room as well and contacted police. Through his attorney, Araica surrendered and was charged with one count of sex battery.

Clip_s3.jpgThis morning, the alleged molester paid his bond and was seen leaving the Miami-Dade County jail with a jacket over his face, not to be seen by cameras.

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Miami Beach Police Department are currently investigating two cases of sexual assaults that occurred last week at the Fountainebleau. As crucial a priority security in hotels, motels and resorts in Florida should be, our negligent security lawyers and inadequate security attorneys’ experience indicates security in hotels is severely lacking and more often that not contributes to guests becoming victims to sexual assaults.

Fontainebleau.jpg

Over the last four days, two guests staying at the Fountainebleau were sexually abused and assaulted. The first victim, a 23 year-old woman, returned to her hotel room and fell asleep on her bed when she was awaken by a naked man who was laying on top of her. The woman fought the man off and screamed for help. The assailant took flight and the victim ran to her sister’s guest room next door and called for help.

rafaelmunguiamugshot.jpgInvestigators of the Miami Beach Police Department reviewed the surveillance camera footage and had sufficient evidence to arrest the alleged assailant, Rafael Munguia, 26, who was also staying at the hotel at the time. The surveillance footage showed Munguia leave the victim’s hotel room naked and run to his own hotel room. On the evening of the assault, the Police arrested Munguia on charges of rape, and he confessed to raping the young woman less than 24 hours later.

The second assault occurred by the pool area of the Fountainebleau. At around 2am, the victim’s boyfriend left the victim by herself for less than a half hour. When he returned, he saw a man on top of his girlfriend. The subject had his pants down and was physically grinding on the woman in a sexual manner. Two hotel employees witnessed the male subject run off the hotel’s property wearing nothing but a pair of underwear and carrying clothes in his hands.
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In light of the sexual assault allegations levied against International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the security and lack of protection of chamber maids have become front and center in the recent months.

hotelmaid8204.jpgIn New York, Assemblyman Rory Lancman introduced the Hotel Worker Protection Act, which aims at imposing on to the lodging industry to equip hotel employees, specifically maids, to carry a panic button at all times that would essentially alert hotel security in case of an emergency.

Leesfield Scolaro has litigated and been involved in numerous cases where female hotel employees were physically assaulted and battered as well as sexually assaulted and raped. Recently, Thomas Scolaro represented a young woman who was brutally assaulted and raped in a hotel room that she was cleaning at the time. After several months of litigation, the defendant hotel reached a settlement with the young woman. The hotel’s liability was established when Mr. Scolaro showed evidence of lack of hotel security which had allowed a vagrant to spend the night on the hotel’s premises without being seen or removed from the property. The vagrant was them allowed to roam in and around the hotel until he walked into the hotel room that our client was cleaning.

If the new proposed legislation becomes law in New York, it is reasonably likely that other states will follow. The State of Florida has a particular interest in protecting hotel employees because of the large revenues generated by Tourism, one of the biggest sources of revenue for the state. On average, there are over 80 millions of visitors to the State of Florida, which brings almost $20 billions to the state-wide economy.

A version of the bill introduced by Roy Lancman, if introduced in the State of Florida, would be judicious for the lodging industry to support to show its concern towards hotel employees’ safety and security. It would also act as another deterrent, beyond the presence of security guards in hotels.
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