Rape at W New York Hotel

New York, NY--A 25-year old housekeeper at New York's W hotel on Lexington Avenue was found unconscious and raped outside of one of the hotel guest rooms early Monday morning. Another employee, delivering bills to guests at 4:30 a.m., found the woman partially unclothed and laying on the ground.

It appears that at this time police do not have a suspect, although reports speculate that the perpetrator was a hotel employee, not a guest. This incident occurs only weeks after a guest at the same hotel charged that an employee fondled her in the hotel elevator, then forced his way into her room. That employee was later arrested and charged with sexual abuse and forcible touching.

According to a representative of the W New York, there were meeting groups staying at the property on Monday night when the incident occurred. According to the same person, “I don’t believe they [guests] were ever notified” that an assault had taken place.

Starwood did release a statement regarding the situation in which they indicate full cooperation with authorities. The New York County District Attorney's office will not comment on ongoing investigations, but confirmed that an arrest has not yet been made.

Although violent acts cannot be eradicated, particularly in environments such as hotels where odd hours, transients, and relative anonymity are the norm, this incident brings to the fore the debate over what levels of security, and background screening of employees, are appropriate. Further, hotels are under increased pressure these days to add services specific to female travelers. For instance, more hotels are creating women-only guest floors--complete with escorts from the porte cochere to their guest rooms--which are dedicated to creating a safe and comfortable environment for female business travelers.