This millionaire just showed how money can help you get away with absolutely anything.
Last month, John Joseph Boswell pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sexual abuse against two maids at Washington’s downtown Mayflower hotel.
Boswell is the CEO of Independent Stave Company, the world’s largest wine-and-whiskey barrel manufacturer and lives in a 14,000 square-foot, $7 million mansion in Palm Beach Gardens, 20 miles from President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The man has contributed $120,000 to Republican candidates and other conservative groups over the past two decades and recently became a Trump supporter.
While staying at the Mayflower hotel on Jan. 19 to attend Trump’s swearing-in ceremony, the millionaire accosted two maids in his room. The first maid was reportedly an African-American, who was making Boswell’s bed when he came up behind her and touched her buttocks.
The startled woman froze and, according to the police report, apologized to him. “Sorry, sir,” she said. “Sorry, sir!”
She then hurriedly left the room and told her co-worker that she would need to clean the room herself. When the second maid started to make the bed, Boswell approached her and placed “his hands on top of her shoulders,” until she demanded he sit down.
Neither of the women reported the incident but the next day a co-worker told her manager what happened. The manager who called the police.
“I patted her on the lower back,” said the 70-year-old Boswell. “It was just a friendly gesture.”
However, the prosecutor in the case did not buy that excuse.
“He took advantage of [her] while she was working, vulnerable and alone,” Vivian Kim, an assistant U.S. attorney, wrote in an email to Boswell’s attorney.
Bernard Grimm, Boswell’s attorney, pushed prosecutors to grant his client a deferred sentencing hearing under which the millionaire could admit his guilt, but later could withdraw his guilty plea.
On April 11, Boswell pleaded guilty and Judge Michael Ryan ordered him to pay a mere $50 as compensation to the victims, which is one-fifth of the maximum penalty for the offense. It is important to note that the millionaire earns $600,000 a month.
He was also sentenced to 10 days in jail, which the judge later agreed to suspend, and was given a six-month probation, which he has been allowed to spend vacationing in the Bahamas and visiting his family in the Dominican Republic.
#sexualabuse -- John Joseph Boswell. Stay home in your 12,000 sq. ft. Palm Beach Gardens. Leave housekeepers, uh, uh alone. Trump-Buddy.— Carol Elliott (@Tenerunpulso) May 22, 2017
Pussy-grabbing John Joseph Boswell must be a good friend of Trump's. They both belong in jail. Disgusting. https://t.co/GZxJalr5qF— One world no borders (@coffee_n_cream) May 22, 2017
The groping offender, John Joseph Boswell, got barely a slap on the wrist. Ten days jail time, which was suspended. Didn't admit what he did pic.twitter.com/cfxxpvS4vX— Philip Turner (@philipsturner) May 22, 2017
John Joseph Boswell a sexual abuser, and predator who thinks his money makes him above the law. What a sac of crap. https://t.co/TmMOvF8j9j— Joe (@jwduris) May 22, 2017
As Boswell displayed how many can make you above the law, his victim is still suffering from the trauma. The unnamed woman was forced to move out of her apartment after Boswell’s defense team came to her home and terrified her. She still works at the Mayflower, but “whenever she would talk about it, she would cry,” her co-worker said.
Such incidents are hardly a rarity in the hotel industry. Around 50 percent of the employees working at hotels say they have been harassed or sexually abused by a guest, according to union surveys. Many of these incidents never come to light because the maids, many of them women of color, don’t come forward for fear of losing their jobs.