Romulus rape raises question: Do hotels do enough to protect guest privacy?

Posted at 7:06 PM, Jun 22, 2016

Romulus Police are still chasing down leads called in after 7 Action News showed surveillance video of a suspected rapist, but have not yet made any arrests.

The surveillance video released has many asking: Do hotels need to do more to protect their guests?

The crime happened early Monday morning.

An 18-year-old flight attendant landed at Detroit Metro Airport with a layover late Sunday.  She went out for dinner at the Wheat and Rye Restaurant with co-workers. 

It is there that police believe her rapist spotted her. 

She left the restaurant with co-workers. Police believe the man followed their taxi from another vehicle. When they were dropped off at the Days Inn, he pulled into the parking lot and loitered.

On surveillance video the suspected rapist can be seen loitering in the hotel lobby before the rape happened.  There is no attendant seen in the camera shot. 

He looks through a Rolodex that appears to be filled with registration cards and guest information.

He then leaves the camera’s view. At that point it is believed he somehow got into his victim’s room and raped her.

“This is very, very disconcerting,” said Corey Silverstein, a civil rights and litigation attorney from Bingham Farms.  “When you are at a hotel you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. I would certainly hope that, when someone is checking into a hotel, they would not be able to look at the hotel desk and thumb through records. That’s scary.”

7 Action News went to the hotel for answers. Our crew could see on the desk what appeared to be the same Rolodex. It was filled with what appeared to be registration documents.

What appeared to be guest information could be seen.

A staffer at the desk said she could provide no comment. 

The Days Inn Detroit Metro Airport Management provided a written statement saying:

The security of our guests is of paramount importance. Our reception desk is always attended and we follow strict corporate policies on the issuance of room keys.

This is an active police matter and we are working closely with the Romulus Police Department to bring the suspect to justice. Police believe the suspect followed the woman from a nearby restaurant to our property. We immediately provided police with our surveillance video of the suspect. We will continue to assist the Romulus police with their investigation.

7 Action News asked police if the investigation determined how the rapist located his victim’s room. Police said they were still investigating.

Attorney Silverstein says if the records on the lobby desk helped the rapist find his victim, the hotel could be civilly liable. Silverstein says all hotels need to check their procedures.

“Obviously the police are still investigating and we don’t have all the facts, but the concern would be that he used the hotel in order to commit his crime,” said Silverstein.

Romulus Police meantime are still searching for the suspect. If you recognize him, call Romulus Police.