Bride attacked on wedding's eve sues Beaufort hotel

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Bride attacked on wedding's eve sues Beaufort hotel

By PATRICK DONOHUE
pdonohue@beaufortgazette.com
Published Monday, May 28, 2012   |  448 Words  |  

A Beaufort woman attacked inside a cottage at the Beaufort Inn the night before her wedding in 2009 is suing the downtown hotel, saying its owners did not do enough to protect her and other guests, according to court records.

Attorneys for Gretchen Rhyan Mazur Williamson filed the lawsuit in March, accusing the hotel's owner, Associated Luxury Inns of Beaufort, of gross negligence for "failing to adopt and utilize adequate and proper security and emergency procedures for guests," court records show.

Attorneys for the hotel have yet to file their response.

The lawsuit alleges there had been 250 robberies, assaults and other crimes near the hotel during an unspecified period before the attack on April 18, 2009.

Given those crimes, a "likelihood of eventual criminal conduct against a guest of the Beaufort Inn was foreseeable ... and (the hotel) owed a duty to take reasonable action to protect (Williamson) and other guests against the risk of harm," according to the filing.

Mazur-Williamson was badly beaten at the hotel by a still-unknown assailant, who investigators believe entered the cottage through a broken rear window and attacked the Beaufort native, causing multiple fractures to her nose and face.

The lawsuit alleges that the hotel's staff cleaned up blood and disturbed or removed other evidence that might have led to the attacker's arrest.

Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy said the crime scene and the evidence were preserved for investigators.

"The crime scene was secured by responding officers at 3:13 a.m. and turned directly over to investigators for processing," Clancy said.

Williamson and her husband, Michael Williamson, were scheduled to be married the next day at Sea Island Presbyterian Church on Lady's Island, with a reception to follow at The Oaks Plantation.

The couple canceled both events and instead were married in the backyard of the St. Helena Island home of the bride's parents after she was released from Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

Williamson is seeking actual, punitive and compensatory damages for the cost to cancel her wedding ceremony, honeymoon and other events, the lawsuit said.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.

Related content:
Beating of Beaufort bride remains unsolved, Sept. 19, 2009

Newlyweds calculate cost of attack on the eve of their wedding, April 23, 2009

Police still without a suspect in Beaufort hotel beating, April 22, 2009