The organizers of BottleRock Napa have been hit with a lawsuit from a woman who was sexually assaulted at the music festival's 2019 edition.
The Napa Valley Register reports that the woman, known as Jane Doe, was assaulted by a Richmond man named Peterson William Fontes on May 25th, 2019 on the festival's grounds. Fontes allegedly used a hand saw to surreptitiously cut a hole in a portable toilet that he would eventually use to attack Doe, whose real name was omitted from the report to protect her identity.
Fontes was eventually convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison, but the litigation does not stop there. Doe went on to file a civil complaint against BottleRock Napa's organizers and security contractors, Latitude 38 Entertainment, LLC, NPB Companies, Inc. and Contemporary Services Corporation, who she alleges were "negligent and caused her devastating emotional distress as a result of the assault."
The events leading up to the attack paint a disturbing picture of a predator with a predetermined objective. After leaving Pharrell Williams' performance shortly before its conclusion around 10PM, Doe went to use the restroom near Gate 3, according to the lawsuit. It was quite dark outside on her way to the area, so she used the flashlight on her cellphone, which she then put in her mouth so she could use her hands inside the stall. After crouching over the toilet to urinate, Fontes reached in through the hole he had cut in the wall and sexually assaulted her with his hand.
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Doe immediately screamed and ran out of the restroom, frantically searching for her assailant, but to no avail. She then explained the incident to security guards, who allegedly dismissed Doe's concerns, prompting her to call the police. According to the complaint, the guards "further insulted Doe by insinuating that they could not possibly know whether anyone trespassed in a gathering of tens of thousands of people."
The suit notes that Fontes, a pastor, had been accused of and apprehended for similar crimes in the past. In 2018, he was arrested for cutting holes in portable toilets in a city park in Brasília. Prosecutors say that Fontes also digitally penetrated another woman while she was using the toilets at a street fair just two weeks prior in Alameda County, according to the District Attorney's office. Earlier in the day of Doe's assault at BottleRock Napa, he also recorded a video of a couple together inside a restroom.
"The horrific sexual assault of our client should never have been allowed to happen," said Doe's attorney, Paul T. Llewellyn. "The fact that the perpetrator was able to cut holes in the back of eight portable restrooms, while going undetected, suggests gross security failings by the defendants. In my opinion, they were asleep at the wheel."
Source: Napa Valley Register