UT Austin student sues North Austin hotel over alleged sexual assault

A local student has filed a lawsuit against a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in North Austin after she was allegedly sexually assaulted in one of the hotel rooms.

"It was something that was completely preventable," said the woman’s attorney, Anna Greenburg of Houston-based Blizzard Law. "This is a case where a hotel failed to provide basic security to one of its hotel guests. And unfortunately, it resulted in my client being sexually assaulted." 

According to the lawsuit and an arrest affidavit, Greenberg’s client decided to book a room at the hotel to celebrate her 21st birthday. She ended up meeting and drinking with another group of guests at the hotel bar. 

At one point, one of the women noticed the 21-year-old, referred to as "M.W." in the lawsuit, appeared very intoxicated. She offered to help M.W. up to her room.

M.W. couldn’t find her room key so she went to the front desk and reported that she had lost it. They issued her another key but failed to cancel the old one, according to the lawsuit.

The two women were in M.W.’s room when a man from the hotel bar allegedly found M.W.’s old key and used it to come into her room as well. He said he wanted to help, but the woman assisting M.W. told him to leave. She made sure M.W. was okay and then left as well.

"She actually went down to the front desk and said, ‘Did you issue that young man a key to this woman's room?’ and they said, ‘No, but we've been very suspicious of him all night,’" said Greenberg. "And still, at that point, they didn't void the last room key."

Later that night, according to the lawsuit and arrest affidavit, that same man returned to M.W.’s room and sexually assaulted her. He was arrested the following day and has been charged with sexual assault. 

Greenberg believes the hotel should also be held accountable.

"They have a very basic policy in place, and for whatever reason, that policy wasn't followed," she said. "Their failure to void a lost key caused her to be sexually assaulted, and so that is negligent conduct."

FOX 7 reached out to Aimbridge Hospitality, which manages the hotel, and did not hear back on Wednesday.

Last year, Greenberg’s firm secured a $44 million verdict against another Hilton hotel in Harris County over a sexual assault that occurred.