SAM Magazine - Denver, Co., July 31, 2008 - A Denver jury has found Vail Resorts not liable in a lawsuit claiming that the company was negligent in hiring ski instructor David Lorenzen, who was found not guilty of rape last year in a case involving a 17 year old woman who Lorenzen was instructing.
The victim claimed she was raped in January 2006 by Lorenzen, a Beaver Creek ski instructor at the time, when she accompanied Lorenzen to his apartment after a day of skiing with him. Lorenzen was convicted and given probation for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, but acquitted of the rape charge by an Eagle County jury approximately one year ago.
The parents of the victim subsequently filed a lawsuit against Vail Resorts, claiming the company was negligent in hiring Lorenzen due to the instructors checkered past, a past which includes arrests dating back to 1989. Charges include suspicion of possession of marijuana, criminal mischief, trespassing, vehicle theft and contempt of court. Lorenzen also was convicted of drunken-driving charges in 1994, 1995, 2000 and 2002. According to Vail Resorts, the only items that showed up on a background check of Lorenzen were misdemeanor DUIs in 2002 and 2003.
The jury said that a key factor in their decision to find Vail Resorts not liable was the fact that Lorenzen was not working for the company the day the alleged rape occurred.
"The company carefully evaluates staff members as applicants and during their employment, and was vindicated by the jury, which unanimously rejected the claim that Mr. Lorenzen's alleged off-duty actions should be held against the company," said Vail Resort's chief executive officer Rob Katz. "Beaver Creek Resort is a world-class family resort committed to operating at the highest standards and we hold the safety of our guests as one of our highest concerns."
It is expected that the plaintiffs will file an appeal in the case. \