Woman sues nightclub after alleged sexual assault streamed on Facebook Live
ATLANTA — A woman who says she was sexually assaulted at a popular Atlanta nightclub and is suing the company that owns Opera Atlanta told reporters Tuesday she is a “victim, but I’m a survivor as well.”
Jasmine Eiland and her attorney, L. Chris Stewart, said at a news conference that the club, which was hosting a concert on January 20, did not have enough security, and due to Opera’s negligence she was sexually assaulted on the dance floor as she streamed her birthday party on Facebook Live.
As Stewart played reporters a video he says shows a man pulling Eiland through the crowd after a first assault, his client appeared to be overcome with tears and she was helped from the room for a while.
Stewart said the man assaulted her twice — once on the dance floor and again in an off-limits outdoor area.
CNN reached out to Grae Hospitality, listed as operators of Opera, but was unable to get comment. Previously, Bryan Knight, an attorney for Opera, said the club was cooperating with a criminal investigation by police.
Eiland, who is from the St. Louis area, was in Atlanta on January 20 to celebrate and a man kept pushing her to drink, he said.
“She went from coherent, having fun … to being out of it,” he said.
She is suing the club for failing to provide for her safety.
“They chose profits over protecting the people of Atlanta,” he said.
Eiland spoke briefly, saying she was victim-shamed and bullied after the incident.
“I’m going to continue to fight. I’m a victim but I’m a survivor as well,” she said.
She said she decided to speak publicly and identify herself in order to help other women.
“I figured that, had I not come forward and put my face forward, what would the next woman do?” she said.
A suspect is in jail. Dominique Williams, 34, turned himself in two weeks ago after police obtained a warrant for his arrest on a charge of aggravated sodomy.
An attorney for Williams, Shequel Ross, said in late January in a statement posted to her Instagram account that he maintains his innocence.
“These allegations are false, and the evidence will prove our client should have never been charged.”
Williams appeared in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing where a judge found there was probable cause for the sodomy allegation and for a new charge of rape in a 2018 case involving another woman.
Prosecutors will take the cases to a grand jury.
According to a police report dated January 20, an assault was reported by a woman who said she had seen an incident streamed on Facebook Live which showed “a black female being groped on her chest and possibly being raped from behind” as she screamed ‘no, stop.'”
Officers were unable to find a victim when they arrived at Opera nightclub later that night, according to the incident report. An officer then looked at the video and saw it had been recorded about an hour prior to officers’ arrival, the report said.
“In the video you can clearly hear the female saying, ‘stop, please somebody help me,'” the incident report states.
The Facebook video was taken down shortly after the incident. A spokesperson for the company told CNN that Facebook does “not allow content that depicts sexual violence or assault.”