Airbnb Paid Tourist $ 7 Million After She Was Raped At Knife Threat In New York Rental: Report | World news
Homestay aggregator Airbnb paid a tourist $ 7 million after she was allegedly stabbed at a rental apartment building near Times Square in Manhattan, New York, according to media reports. The unnamed Australian woman said the rape took place as she, along with a group of her friends, were on a trip to New York City to celebrate New Years Eve in 2015, Bloomberg reported as part of an investigation over wide on the safety standards of the vacation rental company.
The victim and his friends recovered the keys to the Airbnb property, popular with tourists to New York where most short-term rentals are illegal, from a nearby store, according to Bloomberg. The report suggests that a stranger, identified by police as Junior Lee, 24, allegedly raped her at the threat of a knife after she returned to the property on her own after the New Year’s celebration.
Police caught the suspect and found three implicated items, including a set of apartment keys. Lee, who has been charged with predatory sexual assault, has pleaded not guilty but remains in custody. After the alleged attack, Airbnb security guards transferred the victim to a hotel, took her mother overseas from Australia and offered to cover any health or counseling costs, reported Bloomberg.
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Duplicate keys recovered from the suspect posed a particular problem for Airbnb and since the attack the company, according to the BBC, has not revised its rules on keys and where apartment hosts can leave them.
Bloomberg said Airbnb wrote the victim a check for $ 7 million in one of the largest payments the company has ever made and, as part of the settlement, the Australian woman cannot blame nor sue Airbnb or the apartment host.
However, Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit in a statement to the New York Post insisted that survivors of sexual assault can speak freely about their experiences as part of the deals the company has made, including the Manhattan case.
“We proactively contacted the NYPD after the attack to offer our assistance with their investigation, and we helped them get her into a hotel. The priority for our company and our leaders was to support the survivor and do good to someone who had suffered a trauma, ”the New York Post said, quoting the representative.