According to West Virginia's News, 72-year-old Robert J. Springer was arrested for sexually assaulting a woman in a room at the Elkins Inn and Suites located at 1200 Harrison Ave, Elkins, WV 26241.
On Thursday, November 4, 2021, police were called to the hotel after a woman came to the front desk alleging that she had just been sexually assaulted in her room.
An investigation determined that the woman and Springer were in the room having drinks when he forced himself on the victim. The victim said she told him no and attempted to get him off her, but he was too strong. Police reported they could smell alcohol on Springer's breath when they approached him in the lobby.
Springer has been charged with a felony count of sexual abuse-first degree.
Attorney contributor Paul Bucci is an experienced sexual assault lawyer who represents victims of sexual assaults in civil lawsuits. During an interview, Paul kindly provided some information regarding the rights of victims sexually assaulted in a hotel to pursue a case.
"Hotels are legally obligated to provide preventative measures that protect both its guests and staff. Hotels can be hotspots for sexual assault as it provides easy access and an inconspicuous environment. Victims are often vulnerable, giving predators a better opportunity to abuse them. Victims sexually abused in a hotel should know they may have rights to pursue a civil lawsuit."
"Hotel owners are obligated to protect their guests by providing a safe environment. These property owners can be considered negligent in civil lawsuits if they fail to provide adequate security. An example of negligence could include previous crimes taking place on or around the property without the security being increased. If a victim's lawyer is able to prove the crime was due to the hotel owner's neglect, the victim may have sufficient ground for a civil lawsuit and possibly even receive compensation."