A Pennsylvania family has filed a lawsuit against a major hotel chain alleging negligent security after they say their 15-year-old daughter was raped on the property.
The family says the resort should have had adequate security in place to prevent something like that from happening.
“This monster has destroyed her innocence," said the teen’s father, who agreed to do an interview as long as he not be identified. "It was just the worst thing that could possibly happen to a family other than a loss of a life. It was so traumatic."
Last April, he and his family left to vacation in the Bahamas to stay at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar Resort, which online markets itself as a family-friendly resort.
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They say what was supposed to be a dream getaway turned into a nightmare.
"She was 15,” said the teen’s father. “She was a very social person, and this has tremendously impacted how she interacts with a number of people.”
The family’s attorney gave us photos showing the bruising on the 15-year-old’s leg from when they say she was lured and raped by a 58-year-old Bahamian man in the cabana area of the resort.
It happened in the early morning hours of April 4, 2021. The father says his daughter had left the room to finish a phone call with a friend.
"We noticed that she was gone, probably around an hour or later. She wasn’t back in the room," he said.
Worried, he tracked her phone to the cabanas where he says he found that man raping his daughter.
"I pushed him off and checked my daughter and just stayed between my daughter and this man,” said the teen’s father. “What was very troubling to me is he was very, very collected."
A Grand Hyatt Baha Mar spokesperson sent NBC 6 a statement, saying, “After learning of this situation, colleagues at the property immediately provided care for the victim and her family and worked with Baha Mar security and local authorities on their investigation.”
The man was arrested and criminally charged and is set to stand trial in the Bahamas next month.
The family is now suing Hyatt Hotels for more than $10 million, saying the man had no business being on the property, and legally wasn’t allowed to gamble at the casino there.
The lawsuit alleges the resort didn’t provide proper security to prevent something like this from happening.
"There should have been an adequate security present that would have been there to protect against this type of incident," said the family’s Miami-based attorney Michael Winkleman.
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar went on to say, “While it is our policy not to comment on potential or pending ligation, our thoughts are with the victim and her family following this terrible incident. The safety and security of our guests and colleagues are always a top priority.”
NBC 6 did reach out to Bahamian authorities for the man’s arrest report and mug shot. However, the local police told us they are not obligated to release anything to NBC 6 since it is not in their jurisdiction.
The accused man, Henry Richard Nixon, told NBC 6 in a Zoom interview from the Bahamas Thursday night that he is not guilty and none of the charges are true.
"Well my client is completely innocent as it relates to this case because it’s an ongoing he’s not allowed or able to comment on anything at this time seeing as though seeing as the case has not even started as yet," said his lawyer, Keevon Maynard. "He still maintains his innocence as it relates to any offense as it relates to this young lady.”
Nixon said the allegations were damaging to him and his family.
"It's almost destroyed my relationship with my daughter," he said. "She was so sick when these charges came about she almost had to be admitted to hospital, and I've had clients of mine ban me from their property because they might be afraid that I might be a rapist. This has gone so deep and and done so much damage to me and my entire family that it's unbelievable."
Nixon claims he has no criminal record in the Bahamas.
Meanwhile, the girl's family worries there may be other victims out there and hopes this story encourages them to come forward.
They also want to see Hyatt take steps to improve safety and security on the property.