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Female Guest To Sue Airbnb After Sexual Assault Allegations

The woman has accused Airbnb of negligence

Airbnb is facing a lawsuit from a guest who alleges she was sexually assaulted by the host at her accommodation.

The woman has filed a lawsuit against Airbnb, claiming that the company failed to do a background check that would have found the host, Carlos Del Olmo, has previously been accused of domestic violence, The Guardian reports. In 2013, Mr Del Olmo was arrested and charged with battery in Florida in 2013. He was not convicted of the crime.

According to the lawsuit, guest Leslie Lapayowker, 51, rented a studio apartment in Los Angeles in 2016 that was connected to her host’s home.

Ms Lapayowker alleges Mr Del Olmo made sexually suggestive comments about her and had pounded on her car windshield during her stay. Ms Lapayowker said she decided to only stay three nights at the property—rather than her planned month’s stay, The New York Times reports.

When she came back to the studio to retrieve her laptop, Mr Del Olmo allegedly told her he “wanted to show her something of importance” inside the property.

(Credit: Getty)

The lawsuit alleges that Mr Del Olmo locked the door and began masturbating in front of Ms Lapayowker.

The Airbnb host allegedly had told her “Don’t forget to leave me a positive review on Airbnb” before she left.

“I don’t want this to happen to other women,” of Ms Lapayowker told The Guardian. “It was horrible, and I think that everybody should be warned that this could potentially happen to them or their daughter or their wife or their sister.”

In a statement, Airbnb’s Global Head of Trust and Risk Management Nick Shapiro said the company immediately took action in response to the host’s alleged actions. 

“We are outraged by the reports of what happened to our guest, and we immediately removed this host from our platform,” Mr Shapiro said. “The abhorrent behavior described has no place in our community and we will not tolerate it. We have been trying to support her in any way we can and we will continue to do so.”

Mr Sharpiro emphasised that the safety of the Airbnb community was a key priority for the company.

“Nothing like this should ever happen to anyone and we can’t imagine how hard this has been for our guest,” he said. “We run background checks on all US residents, both hosts and guests, looking for matches with terrorist watch lists, financial sanctions, felony convictions, sex offender registrations, or significant misdemeanors.”

Speaking to The New York Times, Mr Del Olmo asserted his innocence over the Airbnb accusations. 

“I have not done anything wrong, and have lost between $30,000 and $70,000 a year in income, because Airbnb abandoned me,” he said.

The host has been barred from advertising his property on the site.

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