BEAUFORT

Lawyers for Beaufort Inn deny allegations by battered bride-to-be

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comJune 30, 2012 

An attorney for the Beaufort Inn has denied allegations that the hotel failed to protect a woman attacked inside one of its cottages the night before her wedding in 2009, according to court records.

Attorney E. Mitchell Griffith of Beaufort responded on behalf of the downtown hotel's parent company, Associated Luxury Inns of Beaufort, to a lawsuit filed in March by attorneys for Gretchen Rhyan Mazur-Williamson.

Mazur-Williamson has accused the business of negligence for "failing to adopt and utilize adequate and proper security and emergency procedures for guests," according to the lawsuit.

In a six-page response filed June 15, Griffith denied that the hotel was liable in the April 18, 2009, attack, in which Mazur-Williamson was beaten by an unknown assailant. Beaufort police believe the attacker entered the cottage through a broken rear window. The Beaufort native had multiple fractures to her nose and face.

Griffith said her husband, Michael Williamson, had requested the outlying cottage.

Mazur-Williamson's attorneys allege there had been 250 robberies, assaults and other crimes near the hotel during an unspecified period before the attack. The "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 lawsuit.

Griffith denied those allegations, as well as accusations that hotel staff cleaned up blood and disturbed or removed other evidence before police arrived that might have led to the attacker's arrest.

"The police had the scene secured and (inn employees) did not clean the scene until it was released by the police department," according to the response.

Mazur-Williamson's attacker remains at large.

Williamson was scheduled to be married the day after the attack at Sea Island Presbyterian Church on Lady's Island, with a reception to follow at The Oaks Plantation. Instead, the couple were married that day at her mother's house. Williamson is seeking actual, punitive and compensatory damages for the cost to cancel her wedding ceremony, honeymoon and other events.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.comProtectServeBft.

Related content:

Bride attacked on wedding's eve sues Beaufort hotel, May 28, 2012

Beating of Beaufort bride remains unsolved, Sept. 19, 2009

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

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