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Woman Sues Airbnb After Host Sexually Assaults Her

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

A woman who says her Airbnb host made sexually suggestive comments, used drugs in front of her, and ultimately sexually assaulted her is suing the company, claiming it failed to do a background check on the man and failed to disclose that it did not do background checks to users. According to her lawsuit, the man faced domestic violence charges and was enrolled in a pre-trail diversion program to avoid prosecution on those charges.

Airbnb, for its part, banned the man from the site following the woman's allegations. "The abhorrent behavior described has no place in our community and we will not tolerate it," said the company's global head of trust and risk management, Nick Shapiro. "We have been trying to support [the accuser] in any way we can."

The Assault

Leslie Lapayowker claims she quickly found host Carlos del Olmo "disturbing." Lapayowker had booked 30 nights in del Olmo's studio while she looked for a place to live in Los Angeles, but moved out after just three nights. Unfortunately, she left some personal items behind.

According to her lawsuit, del Olmo told Lapayowker he "wanted to show her something of importance in the studio" and once inside, "he locked the door and kept [Lapayowker] in a chair against her will." Del Olmo then "dropped his short and started masturbating," telling Lapayowker to "taste it" and "touch it." The lawsuit claims that del Olmo forcefully shoved his tongue in Lapayowker's mouth, ejaculated into a trash can, and then told her, "Don't forget to leave me a positive review on Airbnb."

The Liability

Lapayowker reported the assault to police, according to CNET, but they declined to prosecute, saying there wasn't enough evidence to move forward with charges. But Airbnb could be liable for the assault. (Lapayowker is also suing del Olmo in the same lawsuit.)

The suit claims that Airbnb listed Carlos with a "Superhost" badge next to his name, along with a green check mark and the word "Verified." Lapayowker is claiming she relied on the listing to believe del Olmo was a "safer and more reliable option."

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