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Bloomingdale library rape victim's family sues over 'inherently dangerous' book drop

TAMPA — The family of the young woman raped and beaten outside the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library in 2008 is suing the people who designed and built the library.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, says the after-hours book drop outside the library was "inherently dangerous," created a "latent hazard" and posed an "undue risk" to patrons required to get out of their cars in an area hidden from view.

The attack survivor, at the time an 18-year-old East Bay High School senior, pulled up to the book drop the night of April 24, 2008, as she spoke on a cellphone with a friend. The library was closed. The friend heard the young woman say she saw a "weird guy" sitting on a bench, and then heard a door chime.

At trial, the friend testified that she asked the young woman why she was getting out of her car. The young woman said she had books in the back seat.

The friend heard the young woman fumble with the book drop, and then she heard a scream. A blood trail began at the book drop and ended in a dark field, where the young woman was found bleeding and broken.

Now 21, she cannot see, speak, walk or function alone. Her family has held fundraisers and appealed to the government to help supplement her extensive medical costs.

Rapist Kendrick Morris, now 20, was sentenced in May to 65 years in prison.

In the lawsuit, the young woman's family blames the entities that designed and built the library for negligence.

Architecture firm Fleischman Garcia did not comment. But Bob Angle, with contractors Angle & Schmid, said he was surprised his company was being sued.

"That's crazy," Angle said. "We don't have a thing to do with it."

Angle said his company built the library according to plans it was given, and the county places and installs book drops. The county was not listed as a defendant.

Attorneys for the victim's family and the county did not return calls for comment.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Bloomingdale library rape victim's family sues over 'inherently dangerous' book drop 11/23/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 9:39pm]
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