A woman has told how she was raped for two hours after hotel staff gave a stranger the key card to her locked room while she was sleeping. Cheri Marchionda, who was aged 30 at the time of the attack, revealed that she woke up to find Christopher Lapointe at the end of her bed.
He had convinced staff at the Embassy Suites hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, to give him a key card to her room and disable the door’s safety latch without showing ID or proving he was a guest.
Recalling the 2014 attack, Ms Marchionda told CBS This Morning she stirred from her sleep when she felt someone touching her leg.
“I woke up thinking I was at home,” she said. “So at first I’m like, rubbing my eyes. I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. No, you’re in this room, and then who is this guy?’
“And so, you know, in these seconds, you’re trying to process, like, who is this person at the end of your bed?”
She revealed that Lapointe was holding something in his hand at the time, but she could not tell whether it was a gun or knife or something like a TV remote.
Ms Marchionda said she was then sexually assaulted and raped for more than two hours. “All I thought about was surviving. Because I have these three beautiful children I wanted to go home to,” she said.
According to court records, Ms Marchionda was staying at the hotel as part of a business trip and was in the hotel’s bar when a man, later identified as LaPointe, approached her.
She rejected the advances from LaPointe – who was a frequent guest at the hotel and appeared to be visibly drunk. Ms Marchionda then returned to her room.
The mum-of-three declined this offer – but later woke to find him in her room.
Police later learned that LaPointe was given a key to Ms Marchionda’s room without being asked to show proof that he was registered to the room or even a hotel guest.
When he had trouble getting in because Ms Marchionda had engaged the door’s safety latch, LaPointe convinced a maintenance worker to disable it.
He told the worker he had had a fight with his “girlfriend” and she had locked him out of the room.
Investigators say the maintenance worker let LaPointe in unaccompanied and left.
Lapointe pleaded guilty to sexual abuse and was handed a 20-year prison sentence in December 2014.
Marchionda then filed a civil lawsuit against the hotel’s operators, Hammons Inc. and Atrium TRS III, in 2015, claiming negligence and carelessness.
The lawsuit was recently settled for an undisclosed amount prior to Marchionda’s scheduled testimony on February 13.