Sandals Slams Guests' 'One-Sided' Lawsuit After Bride Claims She Was Molested By Hotel Butler
The bride says she has been diagnosed with PTSD since the incident occured
Update: On Thursday, Sandals provided a revised statement to PEOPLE, reading, “Since our inception in 1981, we have prided ourselves on having created a safe and enjoyable environment at our resorts. Because of this dedication to service and the safety and experience of all our guests, we take this type of allegation very seriously. Over three decades, we’ve had the distinct privilege of welcoming well over 10 million valued guests and continue to celebrate over 10,000 weddings yearly across our 24 resorts. The New York civil complaint filed yesterday seeking compensation from Sandals presents a self-serving, one-sided and incomplete version of an incident reported in 2016. The plaintiffs have unfortunately embarked to influence the case using a choreographed media campaign based on their one-sided narrative. Upon receipt of the initial report, Sandals contacted the police and terminated the employee in question. Sandals intends to vigorously defend itself in court against these one-sided allegations and looks forward to presenting the full picture of all the facts and circumstances surrounding this reported incident from 2016.”
A couple is suing Sandals Resorts for $30 million after the private butler assigned to their suite during their destination wedding in the Bahamas allegedly molested the bride.
“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,’’ the couple’s lawyer, John Nicholas Iannuzzi, told the New York Post.
Ashley Reid, 32, says she was sleeping in her suite after hosting a welcome party for her wedding guests, when at around 2 a.m. on April 15, 2016, Moral Adderley, the personal butler for their suite, snuck into the room, according to the lawsuit. Her soon-to-be husband, Jeffrey Pascarella, 32, was in the bathroom at the time.
“Something was prompting me to wake up, something was wrong,” Reid told the 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,” she continued. “I was just kind of disheveled and disoriented. I couldn’t make sense of what just happened. I was in shock.’’
Reid claims that Pascarella hurried out of the bathroom to check on her and then sprinted after Adderley. The couple say they informed resort security and the police, and provided statements about the incident. They both note they were told by the resort that the valet had been fired and his work phone had been confiscated.
However, the next morning, Reid claims Adderley called her cell phone to take her breakfast order.
Despite the horrifying events of their wedding eve, the couple decided to go through with their big day, telling the Post that they had almost 70 people who had flown in for their nuptials.
“We couldn’t disappoint them,” Reid said.
However, the wedding didn’t live up to their expectations.
“It was surreal. It just didn’t feel like what you grow up imagining your whole life what your wedding would be like,” she said.
The following week, Adderley pleaded guilty to indecent assault at a Magistrate Court in the Bahamas, the suit notes.
According to Pascarella, it was a hassle to get the local authorities involved. “Throughout the process, the [resort staff] were just very dismissive,” he 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 couple could not be reached for comment by PEOPLE.
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Reid and Pascarella, who have now been married for two years, claim Sandals only offered them a refund for $15,000—the cost of their wedding—and would have required them to sign a nondisclosure agreement had they accepted the deal. They ultimately declined.
Now, they’re suing Sandals for $30 million in damages, claiming that the resort did not provide a “memorable” experience for the couple in the positive way that was promised in their contract.
“Indeed, SANDALS by their negligence, lack of diligence, and blatant failures, ensured that plaintiffs wedding package shall live vividly, if unpleasantly, in their memories for the rest of their lives,” the lawsuit reads.
The suit also claims that the “negligence, indifference, carelessness, and failure of the defendant in, amongst other things, hiring, and training its personnel,” the couple’s “entire dream wedding was ruined, rendered a calamity, a disaster,” and “caused pain, suffering hurt, and humiliation” that caused to the bride to be “rendered sick, sore, and disabled, filled constantly with fear, apprehension, suspicion, and disquiet.”
According to the Post, Reid was diagnosed with PTSD after the incident.
“It’s been true personal and emotional torture,” she said. “I have been going to a therapist since the events happened. I’m just trying to get back to a level of normalcy.”
Her husband gave her “a lot of credit for speaking up. There was obviously some reluctancy between both of us to want to take anything public but we felt it was the right thing to do,” Pascarella said.
A spokesperson for Sandals tells PEOPLE in a statement “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. Our approach relies on a combination of robust policies, employee training, and security infrastructure and technology across all our resorts in multiple countries. We routinely evaluate these to ensure they reflect best in class methods in the locations where we operate.”