And here’s yet another example of how the justice system continues to fail Black women (and Black people in general):
After sexually assaulting a Black maid at Washington D.C.’s Mayflower Hotel on January 19, a millionaire will essentially walk away with nothing more than a $50 fine. His name is John Joseph Boswell, he’s the chief executive of the Independent Stave Company, and he’s also a Donald Trump supporter.
According to a police report obtained by The Washington Post, Boswell approached the woman—an African immigrant, who WP left unnamed since they don’t typically release the name of sexual assault victims—while she was making his bed. He then reportedly proceeded to “rub her buttocks” while saying “This is very nice stuff. I like that!” Shocked, the woman began to apologize, saying “Sorry sir!” according to the police report.
While Boswell claims to have just “patted her on the lower back,” insisting that “it was just a friendly gesture,” Vivian Kim, an assistant U.S. attorney working as a prosecutor in the case, wrote in an email to Boswell’s attorney, “He took advantage of [her] while she was working, vulnerable, and alone.”
Another maid came out of the bathroom moments later, according to the report, prompting Boswell to move away. When the other maid hurried away and “told her co-worker that she would have to clean it by herself,” Boswell proceeded to approach the second woman and “placed his hand on the top of her shoulder” before she ordered him to sit. The women did not immediately report the incident, but police were called after a co-worker spoke to a manager the next day.
This isn’t a new problem.
In fact, cases like this happen often in the hotel industry. In an op-ed written for The New York Times, Jacob Tomsky—a hotel industry vet with 10 years of experience as of the piece’s publishing time—wrote that hotel workers are “sexually accosted by guests… and more often than you’d think.” According to surveys, eight out of 10 hotel workers have been harassed at work, and 68 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. This is especially the case for immigrants and women color, who, as WP notes, typically fear losing their jobs.
Boswell did plead guilty to misdemeanor sexual abuse last month and was sentenced to 10 days in jail with six months probation. His jail time was suspended, however, because, you know—privilege. And to add to that stunning reality, the judge only ordered Boswell to pay $50 in victim compensation, though court documents show he earns six figures monthly ($600,000 to be exact).
“Meanwhile his victim was so frightened by a visit from Boswell’s defense team to her apartment that she moved,” WP reports. According to her co-worker, “Whenever she would talk about it, she would cry.”