Australian woman reportedly paid out millions after alleged rape in Airbnb apartment

Australian woman reportedly paid out millions after alleged rape in Airbnb apartment

Warning: This article discusses rape. 

An Australian woman has reportedly been paid out US$7 million ($9.8 million) by Airbnb after an alleged rape inside a New York apartment she'd rented with friends.

The allegations were revealed in a Bloomberg Business week article about Airbnb's internal "safety team", which deals with the most serious incidents occuring at its properties.

Bloomberg reports that in 2015, the 29-year-old woman and her friends picked up the keys from the popular apartment from a local shop with no identification before heading out to celebrate New Years Eve in Manhatten.

She left her friends celebrating and headed back to the apartment alone - but a man was waiting inside.

It's alleged he held her at knifepoint and raped her before fleeing with her phone. The woman managed to contact her friends using an iPad, and they called the police.

The report, citing people familiar with the investigation, claims an hour later police were in the apartment when the alleged attacker returned to the scene of the crime and peered into the doorway.

He was caught and when his backpack was emptied, a slew of incriminating items such as the woman's earring, a knife and keys to the apartment were found.

Following the attack, Airbnb relocated the woman to a hotel, paid for her mother to fly in from Australia and then paid for them both to fly home together. 

The alleged victim was also offered paid counselling and health costs. Two years later, they paid her US$7 million - after she signed an agreement she would not blame the company or apartment host for the incident.

It's part of an estimated annual $50 million Airbnb pays out to guests and hosts - mostly for property damage.

But there are more sinister incidents, including one where a guest was found naked in bed with the host's seven-year-old daughter.

In other cases, Airbnb's safety agents have organised crews to clean up blood and bullet holes, and have dealt with people who have discovered human remains. 

The safety agents are taught to prioritise customers in serious incidents like this, according to Airbnb - but the agents themselves told Bloomberg they knew their role was to protect the company's public image.

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