Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Victim in St. Petersburg rape sues law firm

ST. PETERSBURG — A woman who was raped in a downtown restaurant last year has sued the company that owns the building, saying the firm should have provided better security.

At 3 a.m. Aug. 3, three men armed with handguns forced their way into the Table restaurant at 539 Central Ave., stole money and raped one of the employees.

Now the woman says the building's owner, the law firm of Rahdert, Steele, & Reynolds, should have realized the building is in a high-crime area, and that workers exit and enter in a dark alley, sometimes late at night. The lawsuit says the firm should have provided security guards, video surveillance and better lighting.

The law firm represents the St. Petersburg Times on First Amendment issues.

Attorney Alison Steele said she was not aware of the lawsuit, and said, "I feel really uncomfortable discussing it," because she said the victim is someone she knows and cares for. The attack, she said, was unspeakable.

Three people were arrested in the attack and also have been charged in other rapes and robberies. One of the suspects was just 13 at the time.

One of the men charged in the St. Petersburg attack, Rigoberto Moron Martinez, then 20, worked briefly at the Table. Police say that he and two others entered the restaurant through a back door when an employee was taking out the trash. They bound one employee with duct tape, raped another, and took $2,000 and a computer.

In another case, the men were charged with breaking into a Gibsonton home and tying up a husband, with one man raping the wife. They also stole computers worth about $3,000.

If convicted, the three could be sentenced to life in prison.

Victim in St. Petersburg rape sues law firm 07/22/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal


    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]

  2. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree


    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  3. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  4. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.