AirBnB Sex Assault Attorney
Were you harmed while staying at an AirBnB property? Are you a victim of sexual assault by an AirBnB guest or host? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys represent sexual assault survivors harmed while staying at an AirBnB.
Call our sexual abuse attorneys (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation and tell us what happened. Then, let us hold those responsible for causing your harm financially accountable for their negligence.
What Is an AirBnB?
AirBnB has changed what people think of the hospitality industry. Instead of limiting the industry to hotels and motels, AirBnB has allowed property owners to make their vacant properties available for any party registered with AirBnB as a user.
Although this service provides many benefits that have consistently been used and enjoyed by hundreds of parties throughout time, there are also negative aspects. In some cases, AirBnB properties were not kept up well enough or were not adequately maintained – resulting in an unsafe environment, while other times malicious intent was present from either one side or both partners using the site.
AirBnB is a company which "allows property owners" or hosts in some cases (depending on if they are renting out vacation homes) to use AirBnB's website platform as an online marketplace.
The platform can list accommodations ranging from apartments and houses up through castles--some listed by private individuals who rent them directly; others offered by professional real estate firms, hotel chains, resorts & spas offering timeshares.
The vacation company also provides more than 1 million listings across 191 countries where users may stay at other people's homes or apartments when traveling, called "AirBnB-style" travel. Safety is a primary concern of AirBnB hosts and guests. One form of safety measure enforced by the Company is the mandatory completion of a comprehensive profile.
In May 2020, AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky announced the Company downsized and laid off 25% of its 7500 employees due to the coronavirus outbreak. The layoffs included 25 of the most experienced safety agents.
Predatory Sexual Assault
In June 2021, the BBC reported that AirBnB paid a rape victim $7 million (5 million Euros) after the alleged sexual abuse survivor from Australia was raped at knifepoint while staying in New York City at an AirBnB rental property. The alleged rape occurred early on New Year's Day in a Manhattan rental in 2016.
Reports indicate that the alleged rape victim and friends rented an AirBnB apartment. The guests allegedly picked up the property's keys at a nearby bodega earlier in the evening of the alleged sexual assault.
The alleged sexual predator made a copy of the apartment keys, gaining access to the apartment before he allegedly raped the young woman.
A New York Post report indicates that the Australian woman returned to the apartment shortly after midnight while the 24-year-old suspect, Junior Lee, hid in the bathroom. Bloomberg reported that Lee allegedly pointed a kitchen knife at the victim before grabbing and raping her.
Later that night, the police captured Lee after he allegedly raped the victim after a New Year's Eve party. The reports indicated that police had found a set of keys to the apartment in the suspect's bag, along with a knife and one of the injured woman's earrings. The Legal Aid Society represents 24-year-old Junior Lee.
Charged With Predatory Sexual Assault
Mr. Lee was charged with predatory sexual assault in the NYC case. Media reports indicate that AirBnB reportedly contacted New York City police concerning the Midtown rape case, offering assistance and relocating the alleged sexual abuse survivor to a hotel.
AirBnB swooped in, offering to pay for health or counseling costs and the ticket price to fly her mother from Australia after she was allegedly raped in the Midtown rental. Lee pleaded not guilty and remains in custody in a New York City jail.
Bloomberg reported that the victim agreed not to blame or sue AirBnB or the apartment host over the predatory sexual assault as a part of the negotiated settlement. However, AirBnB spokesman Ben Breit stated, "In sexual assault cases, in the settlements we've reached, survivors can speak freely about their experiences. This includes the New York City case."
Ben Breit added that the Company's goal following a sexual assault is to provide survivor support of the "horrific attack, and claims that local political issues do not influence AirBnB's response." AirBnB's head of global operations, Tara Bunch, said "we don't really worry about the brand and image components. That stuff will take care of itself as long as you do the right thing."
AirBnB Internal Safety Team
Bloomberg reported that the AirBnB internal safety team worked hard to keep problems out of the press, giving agents blank checks when providing help to sexually abused victims. In addition, the report indicates that AirBnB reportedly spends tens of millions of dollars annually in payouts to hosts and guests to handle horrific problems.
Media reports indicate the vacation company's high-profile political operatives are trained to negotiate the potential publicity nightmare of some of the gruesome events involving the Company's worst crises.
A former political consultant for the Clinton White House, Chris Lehane, who is now AirBnB's head of global policy and communications, was reportedly afraid that the rape in New York City could be used to run the Company out of the city while the vacation company was in heated discussions with regulators.
AirBnB reportedly also hired former National Security Council Adviser Nick Shapiro, who worked as the Central Intelligence Agency Deputy Chief of Staff under the Obama administration. Nick Shapiro help to handle sexual assault cases, including the Midtown rental sexual assault case, stating that the alleged assault "brought me back to feelings of confronting truly horrific matters at Langley and in the situation room at the White House."
The Black Box Team
Workers refer to the team as the 'black box' consisting of approximately 100 agents in major cities, including Singapore, Montréal, and Dublin. Additionally, several team members reportedly have backgrounds in emergency services and the military.
According to Bloomberg, reports reveal many other harrowing stories where the cleanup crews are authorized to spend money dealing with worst-case scenarios, including gruesome deaths and murders. For example, some reports indicate that AirBnB hired cleanup crews to remove blood from flooring and contractors to cover up bullet holes in the walls.
One report suggests that AirBnB spends approximately $50 million every year on legal settlements attempting to make things right for hosts and guests who have endured trauma involving rape, murder, assault, property damage, and other such incidents. Unfortunately, AirBnB declined to discuss how much money they spend on the team's budget handling truly horrific matters.
What Former AirBnB Safety Agents Say
Former team members say that the agents are authorized to provide support to hosts and guests and work to keep shocking incidents out of the news and public view. For example, former AirBnB safety agents described a horrific scene involving a host discovering dismembered human remains in their AirBnB properties. Other hosts have discovered bloodstains.
A New York Post report revealed that a host allegedly found an AirBnB guest naked in bed with his 7-year-old daughter. In 2019, five people were shot to death while attending a Halloween party at an Orinda, California AirBnB.
In April 2021, a three-year-old boy was shot to death at a birthday party celebration held at a Florida AirBnB.
Grizzly Costa Rica AirBnB Murder
In another case, reports indicate that a Florida woman, Carla Stefaniak, was stabbed to death while renting an AirBnB apartment in Costa Rica in 2018. Costa Rican sniffer dogs found her partially burned and half-naked body covered in plastic bags.
Carla's surviving family members filed a civil lawsuit against AirBnB, claiming that the Company failed to perform a background check on a security guard allegedly responsible for the assault. Stefaniak's family (plaintiffs) and AirBnB (defendants) negotiated a settlement for an undisclosed sum. The security guard was later sentenced to sixteen years for murder.
Until 2017, every potential guest who negotiated a settlement with AirBnB over events and incidents involving attacks, assault, rape, and murder was required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The wording in the non-disclosure agreement meant that they could not reveal their harrowing stories involving the Company that would likely go unreported.
That year, the public outcry generated by the #MeToo Movement exposed how major corporations, including AirBnB, use non-disclosure agreements to protect abusive companies. At that time, AirBnB replaced such agreements with a new legal clause prohibiting victims suing AirBnB from discussing the negotiated settlement terms.
Additionally, AirBnB would not allow injured victims and sexual abuse survivors to speak freely and imply there was an admission of wrongdoing by AirBnB once they proactively reached an agreement.
An AirBnB Sex Assault Attorney Can Resolve Your Personal Injury Case
Were you the victim of sexual assault while staying at an AirBnB rental property? Was the perpetrator charged with predatory sexual abuse? Are you ready to sue AirBnB after you've endured trauma at the hands of the apartment host, guest, or others?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our attorneys represent sexually abused victims. Tell us what happened in a confidential setting. Contact our legal team at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation.
Our legal team accepts all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee agreements to ensure no payments are made until we resolve the case through a negotiated settlement or jury trial verdict.