A Gwinnett Country jury found a Georgia hotel partially responsible in a premises liability case for the death of an infant who was killed at the hands of her cult leader father. The 15-month-old infant, Alcenti McIntosh, weighed a meager 7.5 pounds at the time of her death.
Cult Leader Brutally Abuses Women, Children
The tragic case began in November 2014, when cult leader and member of the Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, Calvin McIntosh, showed up at Northside Hospital carrying the infant’s body. On-site doctors pronounced the severely abused and malnourished child dead upon arrival.
Gwinnett County Officers inspected the Extended Stay America Hotel in Norcross where McIntosh was staying and found the child’s mother, 21-year-old Isaia Sweeting, who had been missing since 2010. When police found her, Sweeting weighed only 59 pounds and had endured torture, rape, kidnapping and starvation.
Also discovered to be living in the hotel room were McIntosh’s daughter and son, Najlaa and Khanowk McIntosh, along with three more malnourished children. According to reports, Calvin Mcintosh fathered two of the children with his daughter Najlaa and two others with Sweeting. Najlaa allegedly participated in the abuse. Khanowk helped pay bills but does not face any criminal charges.
Calvin McIntosh entered pleas of felony murder and child abuse. He faced a life prison sentence plus 30 years’ probation. Najlaa McIntosh is awaiting trial on murder and child cruelty charges.
Rogers Secures Victory Against Hotel for Premises Liability
A jury found the Extended Stay America Hotel responsible for 30% of the $46 million total verdict, equating to $13.8 million. McIntosh was held liable for 60%, his daughter for 9%, and Sweeting for the remaining 1% for failing to notify police.
Sweeting was held captive at the hotel for four years, yet hotel management claimed to be unaware of the abuse that was happening in their hotel room. She filed a premises liability lawsuit in 2016 against Extended Stay America and its affiliated corporate entities. Hotel management faced accusations of negligent security, ignoring its duty to protect patrons on its property and failing to abide by its own safety rules.
Plaintiff’s attorney Andrew Rogers of Dietch + Rogers LLC said, “Everybody at the hotel claimed to have no knowledge that Alcenti was there, nor that her mother was there. We wanted to find out how in the hell this could have happened without anybody knowing.”
Hotel policy states that room inspections were to occur once a week, yet management failed to inspect the cult’s room in over four years. The hotel argued that there had been a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the hotel room door. Although the hotel has a master key to inspect rooms if guests refuse entry, they failed to follow their own rules.
Rogers said, “We hope the jury’s verdict in this case serves to forcefully remind all hotel owners to be diligent in enforcing their room inspection policies, especially where there are reasons to suspect that dangerous activities may be occurring in a room. There is simply no excuse for allowing guests to be exploited and starved for 15 months in a hotel room. This should never happen in any hotel.”