AirBnB Sexual Assault Lawyer
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 Chicago sexual abuse lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form today. Our law firm offers free consultations where you can discuss with your experienced attorney what happened. Then, let us hold those responsible for causing your harm financially accountable for their negligence.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our AirBnB sexual assault lawyer remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
What Is an AirBnB?
AirBnB has changed what people think of the hospitality industry. Instead of limiting vacation stays to hotels and motels, AirBnB has allowed property owners to make their vacant properties available for any party registered with them as a user.
AirBnB is a company that "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.
Over One Million Listings
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 one 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. Mandatory completion of a comprehensive profile is one of the safety measures enforced by the company.
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.
Host Protection Insurance Program and Experience Protection Insurance
Although this service provides many benefits that have consistently been used and enjoyed by hundreds of parties since launching, there are also negative aspects. In some cases, company properties were not kept up well enough or were not adequately maintained – resulting in an unsafe environment.
At the same time, malicious intent was present from either side or partners using the site, leading to unwanted sexual activity, attempted rape, illegal touching, and sexual assaults.
AirBnB has initiated an Experience Protection Insurance program for guests harmed on the premises. The insurance covers accidental incidents, AirBnB injuries, physical assaults, and sexual assaults that led to damages, including medical expenses.
The company also runs a Host Protection Insurance program that covers owners and managers renting AirBnB properties to protect company clients from such an incident that would lead to an AirBnB assault or harm.
Predatory Sexual Assault
In June 2021, the BBC reported that AirBnB paid a sexual assault victim $7 million (5 million Euros) after the alleged sexual assault 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 a company-listed apartment. The guests allegedly picked up the property's keys at a nearby bodega earlier in the evening of the alleged AirBnB sexual assault incident.
The alleged sexual assault 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.
A police report revealed that later that night, law enforcement 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.
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 medical attention 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 to non-consensual AirBnB assault and remained in custody in a New York City jail.
Bloomberg reported that the sexually assaulted victim agreed not to blame or sue AirBnB company and the host over the predatory incident 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 care for itself as long as you do the right thing."
AirBnB Host Sexually Assaulted Female Guest
In 2017, an AirBnB guest sought legal action to hold the vacation rental company financially accountable for alleged sexual abuse when the host violated laws, engaging in criminal conduct.
The victim alleges that the AirBnB host sexually assaulted her while she was renting his studio apartment attached to his home. She had rented the property because the alleged creditor was a "super host" for the company with many positive reviews from past guests.
After the 51-year-old woman from New Mexico hesitantly called the police, AirBnB banned the host from the company website. However, authorities deemed insufficient evidence to press charges to prove the AirBnB host assaulted her.
In two separate incidents in 2021, two women filed civil lawsuits against AirBnB, citing they had been sexually assaulted inside the properties they had rented from the company.
A 55-year-old victim stated an intruder raped her in a rented Colima, Mexico, apartment in 2019. The other victim, a 23-year-old New Jersey woman, stated the AirBnB host attacked her by attempting to tear her clothes off while staying at his Los Angeles property.
A Bloomberg investigation into AirBnB listings involving violent crimes, including rape, revealed how the company spends millions in settlements through binding arbitration to ensure that these incidents remain quiet from the public.
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.
Former Clinton White House political consultant Chris Lehane is now AirBnB's head of global policy and communications. He was reportedly afraid that the rape in New York City could be used to shut down the vacation company in New York while 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 helped to handle sexual assault claims, 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 in 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 yearly on legal settlements attempting to make things right for hosts and sexually assaulted guests who have endured trauma involving rape, murder, assault, property damage, and other such incidents.
Unfortunately, AirBnB declined to discuss how much money they spent on the team's budget handling these matters.
What Former AirBnB Safety Agents Say
Former team members say that the agents are authorized to support the AirBnB host 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 an AirBnB host discovering dismembered human remains in their AirBnB properties. Other hosts have found bloodstains.
A New York Post report revealed that an AirBnB host allegedly found a guest naked with his 7-year-old daughter in bed. 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. The boy's family held AirBnB liable for the physical attack to pay all the costs associated with the incident, including:
- Emergency medical bills
- Funeral and burial costs
- The psychological trauma of witnessing the shooting event
- The family's mental and emotional distress caused by the attack
- Legal services to take legal action and file a lawsuit
- Punitive damages
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 an AirBnB sexual assault lawsuit against the company, claiming that the Company failed to perform a background check on a security guard allegedly responsible for the assault.
Stefaniak's family (plaintiffs) chose to sue AirBnB (defendants) and negotiated a settlement for an undisclosed sum to drop the sexual assault lawsuit. The security guard was later sentenced to sixteen years for murder.
Until 2017, potential AirBnb guests who negotiated a settlement with AirBnB over events and incidents involving attacks, assault, rape, and murder were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The wording in the non-disclosure agreement meant that they could not reveal their harrowing stories of physical and sexual assaults 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 sexually assaulted victims suing AirBnB from discussing the negotiated settlement terms.
Additionally, AirBnB would not allow sexually assaulted victims to speak freely and imply there was an admission of wrongdoing by AirBnB once they proactively reached an agreement when settling a sexual assault claim.
An AirBnB Sexual Assault Lawsuit 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 assault? Are you ready to file a lawsuit to sue AirBnB after you've endured trauma at the hands of the apartment AirBnB host, guest, or others?
Our AirBnB sexual assault lawyers represent sexually abused victims. Discuss with your assault attorney what happened in a confidential setting.
Contact an AirBnB sexual assault attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) for legal assistance, or use the contact form today to schedule a free legal consultation to file a lawsuit for maximum compensation.
Our legal team accepts every AirBnB sexual assault lawsuit, personal injury claim, and wrongful death case through a zero-fee guarantee agreement. This arrangement ensures no payments until our personal injury law firm resolves the sexual assault claim through a negotiated settlement or jury trial verdict.