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Travelers don’t normally wonder if it’s safe to drink the water in California, but that question might be worth asking if staying at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. On November 18, 2022, a woman drank from a bottle of water that the luxury hotel provided. She knew it tasted off and laboratory testing confirmed it was laced with semen. Now, a lawsuit has been filed against the hotel.
Insider reports that a couple, identified as John and Jane Doe, stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay last November. They requested bottles of water be delivered to their room. The front desk had them sent right away. The woman put the bottle on her nightstand and went to sleep. She woke up during the night and drank from the bottle. According to the lawsuit, “she opened it, took a drink, and knew immediately that something was wrong with the liquid she had just swallowed.”
The suit goes on to read, “Jane Doe was mortified, terrified, embarrassed, and humiliated, but shared her suspicion with her husband, who then asked the hotel security and management representatives to call the police.” The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call and filed a report. The water bottle was taken by the hotel and sent to a laboratory for testing.
A claims adjuster for Marriott called the couple after the incident to confirm that there was semen in the bottle. The suit claims that the hotel refuses to give the water bottle or the test results to law enforcement for analysis. It “will not disclose the identities of the hotel employees on duty that day so that their backgrounds and criminal histories can be scrutinized.”
As a result of the incident, the couple is suing the hotel for sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and loss of consortium. They are seeking a jury trial. Because the victim did not consent to contact with the employee’s semen, the employee’s action constituted sexual battery.
The New York Post shares that the lawsuit states that the employee “intended to inflict severe emotional distress upon each of them.” Their actions caused the couple to feel “anguish, nervousness, anxiety, grief, worry, shock, humiliation, and embarrassment.” She and her husband have three children and have been married for 25 years. In that time, they have stayed in Marriott-branded hotels at least 600 times (including at its Ritz-Carlton properties).
The Ritz-Carlton is named because, according to the suit, it’s “liable for [the] negligent and reckless behavior” of the employee. Finally, John Doe has been deprived of his wife’s affection and sexual relations as a result of the incident. The couple seeks damages over $75,000.
If you thought this was the first time an incident like this has occurred at a hotel, you’d be wrong. CBS News reported that a Fullerton, CA man ejaculated into his female coworker’s water bottle in 2011. Michael Lallana, 32, was found guilty of assault and battery. Jurors also found that he did it for sexual gratification in that it excited him that “her lips had touched” the bottle.
Anthony’s Take: Yuck. I don’t know what would possess anyone to ejaculate into a water bottle. It will be interesting to see if this goes to trial or is settled out of court by Marriott or the property.
(Featured Image Credit: Sacramento Bee.)
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