Sandra K Reabuck
A Maryland father whose young daughter was assaulted when a male guest entered her room at Seven Springs Mountain Resort has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the resort was negligent in operations there, including problems with room locks and insufficient security staff.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Johnstown by Jay Johnson of Chesapeake, Md., who is represented by Pittsburgh attorney Timothy O’Brien, and names only the resort as defendant.
Anna Weltz, a spokeswoman for the resort, said Thursday that Seven Springs does not comment on litigation.
The incident took place on March 6, 2011, when Johnson, his wife and two minor children were guests at the resort and had adjoining rooms. The girl, then 11, and a son were asleep in their room when a man – eventually identified as Justin Weber of Plum, Allegheny County – entered the room, reportedly looking for a misplaced bottle of beer.
Authorities said that the man carried the girl into the bathroom but then fled when she began screaming.
Weber, who was drunk at the time, pleaded guilty to interference with custody of a child and criminal trespass in Somerset County court and was sentenced in September to six to 23 months in jail.
In the lawsuit, O’Brien alleges that the resort was on notice regarding other similar unforced entries into guests’ rooms and should have been aware that locks on the rooms were not functioning properly.
In addition, he said that Seven Springs had inadequate security staff available to provide for guests’ safety. The resort allegedly had reduced its security staff prior to the incident, the attorney said.
O’Brien said the girl suffered embarrassment, humiliation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
He is seeking more than $75,000 in compensation.
The case has been placed in the district court’s alternative dispute resolution program for possible settlement, according to the federal court clerk’s office.
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