Woman says Mesa hotel employee raped her inside room

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

MESA, Ariz. -- A woman who claims she was raped in a Mesa hotel room by a hotel employee shared her story Friday in part to try and enact some change in the hiring practices of hotels.

During a press conference with her attorneys present, Mickey Haas said she was sexually assaulted in September of 2011 at the Best Western located off of Power Road near the Superstition Springs Mall.

"I woke up in the middle of the night to find a figure standing next to my bed and it ended up being the night clerk, and he raped me at that time," Haas said.

"He used his master key to access her room in the middle of the night and raper her," said Brigham Cluff, one of Haas' attorneys.

Cluff also said Haas was not the only victim.

Another woman claims a similar assault happened to her at a different Mesa hotel about nine months after Haas' alleged assault.

"It's the same individual who committed both rapes. His name is Jason Brown," Cluff said.

According to Cluff, Brown was fired after the Haas incident and then got a job at the other hotel.

Brown denied the assault allegations and has not been charged in either case. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said the case is being reviewed, adding that a charging decision has not been made at this point.

At the time of the alleged assaults, Brown was a registered sex offender here in Arizona for a crime he was convicted of in Illinois.

Haas, her attorneys and some state legislators believe because of his status, the hotels he worked for should not have given him access to the master keys.

"Their lives will never be the same because of this one person who should have never been in a position to violate their safety," said Sen. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix.

"I think there should be definitely a law put in place," Haas said.

That is part of the reason Haas said she wanted to share her story, to try and enact a change in the way hiring is done at hotels in Arizona including requiring consistent and thorough background checks.

Right now, background checks are left up to individual hotel companies. Some do them, so do not.

Haas and her attorneys want that to change.

"To get a statute on the books that will require hotels to perform background checks on those individuals that have access to sensitive information, keys to people's rooms and those kinds of things," said attorney Adam Barlow.

Already two lawmakers, Hobbs and Rep. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, have said they will work with the hotel industry to try and come up with some sort of legislation.

"I'm researching ways that we can better screen hospitality employees and keep hotel guests feeling safe in their rooms," Hobbs said.

"I look forward to reaching out to the hotel industry to come up with some common sense proposals," said Shope.

3TV did reach out to the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association. A spokesperson said they are happy to participate in the discussion and added that their goal is to make sure people who stay in hotels here are happy and, of course, safe.

Haas and the other alleged victim in this case have filed separate lawsuits against the respective hotels where these alleged assaults happened.

Their attorney believes there could be additional victims out there and is asking them to come forward.