84-Year-Old Kidnap Victim Eschews ‘Free Dinner’ to Sue Wind Creek Casino for Gross Negligence

Woman kidnapped and assaulted in 2019

An 84-year-old woman who was kidnapped and assaulted during a 2019 robbery is suing Wind Creek casino in Pennsylvania for “gross negligence in its security protocol,” according to Lehigh Valley newspaper The Morning Call.

A lawsuit filed in Northampton County Court this week identifies Wind Creek Casino and Resort Bethlehem — which offered the victim “a free dinner as a proposed remedy” — as a defendant for not preventing the assault and robbery.

Wind Creek Hospitality, the gaming arm of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, manages Wind Creek Casino and Resort Bethlehem, in addition to several other casino resorts and racetracks in Pennsylvania, Alabama, and the Caribbean. Wind Creek Hospitality purchased Wind Creek casino, previously known as Sands Bethlehem, from former owner Las Vegas Sands for $1.3bn in 2019.

The woman and her husband are seeking over $50,000 in damages.

Last month, Judge Samuel Murray sentenced the woman’s attacker, 39-year-old Hykeem Rasmeen Sessoms of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to between 12 and 24 years in state prison.

Prior violations against Wind Creek cited

In December 2019, Sessoms kidnapped the woman, whose name has not been made public, from the Bethlehem casino after eying her winning money from a slot machine. While threatening to kill the woman, Sessoms forced her into her vehicle and made her drive away from the property, hitting her in the head and demanding money. Sessoms fled the scene with $7 in one-dollar bills from the woman’s purse before police arrested him a short while later.

Attorney John Pinto said the incident still causes his client to suffer flashbacks and that she seldom ventures out of her home anymore.

should have caught the incident unfolding in real time”

The Morning Call stated that the casino’s abundant surveillance cameras “should have caught the incident unfolding in real time” as Sessoms tailed her through the casino and into the elevator.

The lawsuit flags “numerous violations and fines by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for security lapses” against both Wind Creek and Sands Bethlehem. The suit alleges Wind Creek should have been paying attention to “deficiencies with its security and surveillance practices.”

Employee heard the woman scream

The newspaper stated that while Wind Creek would not comment on pending litigation, a casino spokesperson said it had “worked closely with local law enforcement throughout” the investigation into the assault on the 84-year-old.

The lawsuit, meanwhile, alleges the woman screamed during her assault, “but her cries for help went unanswered by casino security staff.”

Wind Creek employee heard the woman scream and shout: “I don’t have any money!”

According to The Morning Call, police reports following Sessoms’ arrest reveal a Wind Creek employee heard the woman scream and shout: “I don’t have any money!” during her assault.

The employee went to alert co-workers, but the woman and Sessoms had departed the scene in the interim.

Pinto stated that Wind Creek targets vulnerable seniors for profit reasons, but doesn’t do enough to protect them. The attorney added in the suit that the events would have a negative lasting effect on the woman, events that “were permitted to occur due to Wind Creek’s negligence and recklessness.”

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