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Edward Napleton, Jr., son of well-known car dealer, sued following sexual assault arrest

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Posted at 12:32 PM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 15:02:17-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The son of a well-known car dealer is facing a lawsuit after police say he sexually assaulted an unconscious woman at a West Palm Beach hotel last year.

The alleged victim, identified as 'Jane Doe' in the lawsuit, is suing Edward Napleton, Jr. and Marriott International, Inc., along with another man and PBM Properties, LLC.

Napleton's family owns several car dealerships in the West Palm Beach area.

"This is a serious case, this is a serious assault, and serious mistakes were made here," said attorney Jeff Herman, who's representing the alleged victim, at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

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According to the lawsuit, Doe, an employee of Napleton Automotive Group, went to have a drink with colleagues at the Marriott West Palm Beach on Aug. 8, 2018 and planned to go home afterward. That was the last thing she remembered.

The lawsuit claims Doe woke up the next day disoriented, confused, and naked in a hotel room bed, which was soaked with fluids.

Police say video surveillance shows Napleton and another man bringing an incoherent Doe to the hotel room the night before. At one point, she falls unconscious on the floor, and the other man drags her into the room, according to police. The men then left the room.

Not long after, video surveillance shows Doe waking up, leaving the room, and moving down the hall, but eventually passing out, police say. Hotel staff found her on the floor and brought her to the lobby in a wheelchair, where she was incoherent and unable to communicate, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit says the other man told hotel employees to bring Doe back to the hotel room, where she was "unresponsive, incoherent, and incapacitated."

That man later gave a key card to the room to Napleton, who entered alone and spent six hours with Doe, the lawsuit states. During that time, police say Napleton sexually assaulted Doe.

"At some point after Eddie goes into the room, the manager decides he's a little concerned, he's alarmed by seeing men walking toward her room." said Herman.

Herman claims the manager then decided to do a wellness check on the woman.

"He puts his head to the door and he listens. And what he hears is ruffling of sheets," said Herman. "And as he says, well, he didn't want to interrupt what he thought might be going on. So he doesn't knock, he doesn't interrupt, and he doesn't save her from the sexual assault."

According to investigators, DNA testing from a rape kit led them to Napleton.

The lawsuit says toxicology tests show Doe was "was severely intoxicated during the time that she was in the hotel room alone with Eddie Napleton."

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Napleton, who's facing a charge of sexual assault on a helpless person, pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing at a court hearing in August. The other man has not been arrested in the case.

"He vehemently denies his guilt," attorney Richard Lubin said during that hearing. "I’ve already identified 12 witnesses who are favorable to the defense in the case."

WPTV reached out to Lubin on Thursday for a comment about the lawsuit, but have not heard back yet.

WPTV also reached out to Napleton Auto Group and Marriott.

A Marriott spokesperson told us they do not comment on pending litigation.

We are still waiting on a response from Napleton Auto.