INDIANAPOLIS (March 7, 2014) – Two women who were kidnapped from the parking lot of the Avon Walmart and then raped filed a lawsuit accusing the company of failing to protect its customers.
According to the complaint filed this week, Walmart failed to intervene and call police even though security footage captured Michael Parrish acting suspiciously before the women were held at gunpoint. Thursday, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office filed several charges against Parrish ranging from rape to burglary.
In the Avon case, Parrish is accused of approaching the women as they were loading groceries in the parking lot around 11 p.m. on Feb. 6, 2014. Investigators said he was armed and threatened to shoot them unless they complied with his demands. The women had a 3-year-old child with them—and police said Parrish also threatened to shoot the child. The women were then raped and forced to perform sex acts.
The complaint said Walmart “did absolutely nothing” even though the women were assaulted in front of the store and the abduction was captured on security cameras. Walmart “failed to intervene, failed to contact police, failed to report any criminal activity and failed to render appropriate aid,” the complaint said.
Neil Davis, who represents the two women, says “In terms of general duties of businesses in Indiana they have a duty to take reasonable precautions to protect their customers from foreseeable criminal acts.”
“The court is going to look at what prior criminal acts occurred at that location to determine what’s foreseeable, Davis said. “In this case as you referenced for that location only we’ve got over 800 police runs.”
The women are asking for punitive damages for pain and suffering, personal injury, mental distress and medical expenses, among other things.
Walmart officials said they’re reviewing the case. They released the following statement:
“Our thoughts are with these two women. The safety and well-being of our customers and associates is always a top priority, and we take what has been reported seriously. We are in the process of reviewing the complaint and continue to investigate the incident. We will continue to work with law enforcement.”
Parrish is charged with 35 counts. The day before the Avon abduction and rape, police said he was responsible for a house invasion on LaSalle Street in Indianapolis. Later that day, investigators said he abducted two other women at gunpoint and sexually assaulted them.
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