A man who drunkenly crawled into bed with a nine-year-old girl after a room mix up is suing the hotel he was staying at for damages.
Daniel Hughes was intoxicated following a business conference when he returned to the St. Louis’ Ritz-Carlton hotel and was given the key to the wrong room by hotel staff, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The 42-year-old wound up in bed with the child, wearing only his underwear, and was subsequently charged with three counts of child molestation and statutory sodomy, which he was later acquitted of.
He told a jury he accidentally cuddled the girl after mistaking her for a woman he had been out drinking with earlier in the evening.
One of the jurors remarked afterwards it was one of the most difficult decisions he’d ever made, particularly as intoxication was not considered an appropriate defence.
“I don’t think I could prove that he intended to molest or assault anybody,” the prosecutor Kathi Alizadeh said.
“If you listen to his statement, I believe that he, in his fogged state, did think this was an adult woman. If that’s the case, he didn’t intend for that touching to be provocative. He thought this was all consensual.”
“You heard the argument, it’s pretty simple,” defence lawyer Scott Rosenblum said.
“The whole case, at the end, was left in my view to just massive speculation and innuendo, and that’s not enough.”
After the criminal trial, which took place in 2014, Hughes settled a lawsuit filed by the girl’s parents for $50,000 — it’s not known how much compensation they received from the hotel.
Despite being found not guilty, Hughes lost his job (and the accompanying a half-a-million dollar a year salary) with Enterprise Leasing Co. over the incident and is hence suing the Ritz-Carlton for damages.
Hughes’ lawyer claims they failed to provide “any reasonable and customary key-security precautions that are standard within the hotel industry and particularly within the luxury hotel market to which the Ritz-Carlton belongs.”
Having misplaced his room key and mixed up his room number due to intoxication, Hughes’ believes the staff at the hotel desk should have performed proper ID checks and escorted him to his own bed.
*Feature images via Google Maps.