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Stalked ESPN Reporter Sues Six Hotel Operators

By Joseph Straw

ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, who was photographed through hotel room doors after employees provided a peeping Tom with both her room numbers and accommodations in adjoining rooms, has sued six hotel operators and the convicted defendant, according to a statement and press reports.

Andrews’ suit, filed in federal court in Chicago, names Marriott International, Inc.; West End Hotel Partners, LLC , which operates the Nashville Marriott At Vanderbilt University; Windsor Capital Group, Inc.; Radisson Hotels International, Inc.; Ashtel Inc., which operates the Radisson Hotel Milwaukee Airport; the Preferred Hotel Group, Inc., operator of Summit Hotels & Resorts; and one college—The Ohio State University—which owns The Blackwell Inn.

The suit also names defendant Michael David Barrett, who pleaded guilty last year to federal charges of altering peepholes between the adjoining rooms and taking photographs of Andrews nude, which he then posted on the Internet. In March Barrett was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender, according to the New York Daily News.

(For more on hotel and travel security and safety, see “Holes in Hotel Security,” by Associate Editor Laura Spadanuta, Intelligence, in April's print edition, and “What Female Travelers Need to Know,” by Darlene Radloff, March 2007.)

Andrews alleges negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy on the part of the hotel operators, and negligence, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress by Barrett. Andrews seeks at least $50,000 in damages, according to a statement from her law firm and the Chicago Sun-Times.

"I've filed this lawsuit to hold accountable those who put my personal safety at risk and who allowed my privacy to be invaded while I was a guest at their hotel as well as for actually stalking me and making my most personal moments public," Andrews said in her law firm’s statement. “Although I'll never be able to fully erase the impact that this invasion of privacy has had upon me and my family, I do hope that my experience will cause the hospitality industry to be more vigilant in protecting its guests from the time they reserve a hotel room until they check out."

Andrews has launched a campaign to make hotels more secure, with recommendations that include installation of CCTV cameras on every floor, expanded employee training, and a requirement for guest consent before assigning adjoining rooms, according to USA Today.
 

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