Tammy Lawrence-Daley was staying at the Majestic Elegance Punta Cana all-inclusive resort with her husband when she ventured out of her room alone to buy a snack. She alleges she was attacked by a man – and perhaps two -- wearing a hat and shirt with the name of the resort.
Lawrence-Daley, who posted a photo herself on Facebook showing her face swollen and bruised, said she was strangled and beaten. She suffered facial fractures and nerve damage, according to published reports.
Her lawsuit says she wants "justice" and "accountability” and to be compensated for "permanent, life-changing injuries," according to the Delaware News Journal.
"Mrs. Lawrence-Daley and her team want Americans to know that they are being misled to believe that the Majestic Elegance Punta Cana did their job in handling this matter and that their facilities are safe," the newspaper said, citing a statement by attorneys for Lawrence-Daley.
The resort has challenged Lawrence-Daley’s account, raising questions about why she went public with her accusation four months after it allegedly occurred.
In a statement to Fox News in June, Majestic Elegance Punta Cana Hotel claimed: “Mrs. Lawrence formally demanded a $2.2 million compensation agreement. After receiving no positive response, she disclosed her version of the case, 4 months after it happened.”
Lawrence-Daley has said in interviews with various news outlets that an effort to reach an out-of-court settlement had failed, and the resort’s insurance company eventually sent a letter saying Majestic Elegance bore no responsibility since she couldn’t identify her assailant as an employee.
The hotel statement sought to address criticism by Lawrence-Daley and her husband, Christopher, that they had to make several appeals to the staff to help them find her when she didn’t return to the room. She was found eight hours after the attack.
The hotel staff, the statement said, “took on the responsibility of providing all necessary attentions and that all actions in the case are well documented” and “a member of the hotel staff stayed most of the time in the hospital to provide assistance and ensure that her needs were met.”
Lawrence-Daley's decision to go public about her alleged attack came as news broke about a rash of U.S. tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic in the past year. Attorneys and relatives of the U.S. tourists -- who now number more than a dozen -- have assailed efforts by Dominican officials to depict the deaths as an unfortunate twist of fate and promote the country as a desirable vacation spot. Some are moving to have independent autopsies and toxicological tests done in the United States.
The FBI is assisting Dominican authorities in the investigation into some of the resorts where deaths occurred, as well as with toxicological tests in the case of three of the deaths. The Dominican Republic has signed a $35,000 monthly contract with the New York-based Rubenstein public relations powerhouse to fight the negative publicity.
Hotel and law enforcement authorities have responded publicly to Lawrence-Daley’s allegations with a mix of concern and defensiveness, saying that they are investigating and adding that there are inconsistencies in her account.
“After their investigation, authorities understand that the scenario is still unclear, and that there are weak points and unanswered questions to answer in this strange and unusual case,” the statement said.
Lawrence-Daley has criticized authorities for waiting 48 hours to provide a rape kit, and said that testing was conducted after she took a shower.
Dominican authorities told the Associated Press last month that they are investigating.