Newlywed Couple Sues Sandals Resort After Butler Sexually Assaults Bride
A New Jersey couple is suing the Sandals Royal Bahamian resort in Nassau, Bahamas, after the bride-to-be was sexually assaulted by their Sandals-assigned butler.
Ashley Reid and Jeff Pascarella, both 32, had booked their "dream wedding" at the Sandals property in 2016, and were in their suite the night before the wedding on April 15, 2016. Jeff was in the bathroom, and Ashley was already asleep in bed when she awoke to their personal valet, Moral Adderley, molesting her. "Something was prompting me to wake up, something was wrong,” Reid told The New York Post. “As I started to wake myself up, I realized his hands were down my pants and I jumped out of bed. I screamed. He got up, he ran out of the room. I was just kind of disheveled and disoriented. I couldn’t make sense of what just happened. I was in shock."
The couple immediately reported the incident to the resort security and police, who arrested Adderley after both Reid and Pascarella gave their statements. Sandals officials assured the couple that Adderley's employment had been terminated that night and his work phone had been confiscated, only for Reid to receive a call on her cell phone from him the next morning, stating that he was ready to take their breakfast order. Adderley eventually pleaded guilty to charges of indecent assault, but only after the couple escalated the incident to Bahamian police over the resort's objections.
Because Reid and Pascarella had nearly 70 family and friends gathered to attend the wedding, they went ahead with the ceremony and reception the next morning. But the entire happy experience was ruined for the couple, especially Reid, who said she has undergone two years of therapy for PTSD. The couple said that the resort was very dismissive of their concerns.
“Throughout the process, the [resort staff] were just very dismissive,” Pascarella said. “They didn’t want us to call the police. I think they were just doing everything they could not to escalate this and just move on.” The Sandals resort offered a refund for the event fees on the condition that the couple sign a nondisclosure agreement, which they declined.
Reid and Pascarella are suing for $30 million in damages over Reid's "true personal and emotional torture."
"This was a guy who came in and was assigned to them as a butler to make it a memorable wedding — and indeed he did, but it is a ghastly memory for them," said John Nicholas Iannuzzi, the lawyer representing the couple. "This is something that will stay with these folks for the rest of their lives."
Sandals released a statement regarding the incident, saying, “There is nothing more important than the safety and security of our guests, and we take allegations of criminal assault at our resorts seriously. We have worked tirelessly over decades to create a safe and enjoyable environment at our resorts, and our efforts include collaborating with various government and law enforcement resources to ensure we are among the safest resorts operating in the Caribbean."