The new attorney for a Delaware woman whose attack at a Dominican Republic resort has cast a shadow on the vacation hot spot says the resort is purposely "misrepresenting" facts in order to "manipulate" the public.
Victoria Kurtz is representing Wilmington, Delaware, resident Tammy Lawrence-Daley, who in May went public to recount what she described as a vicious beating that happened in January at the Majestic Elegance resort in Punta Cana. Since then, the resort and Dominican authorities have questioned Lawrence-Daley's account and intentions.
"I think it's just an attempt to manipulate the public to believe her intention is just to obtain money," Kurtz said in regard to recent statements by Majestic Elegance.
Lawrence-Daley's story came to light following a May 29 Facebook post in which she described being suddenly attacked from behind and brutally beaten for eight hours by someone wearing a resort uniform.
Majestic Elegance maintains that it has "no opinion on the hypothesis of some authorities involved in the investigation," but it recently put out a statement that seemingly minimized the extent of Lawrence-Daley's injuries and said the couple went public only after they were denied $2.2 million in compensation.
Majestic Elegance said Lawrence-Daley had "bruises on her face and had a broken fingernail..."
A photo of Lawrence-Daley taken shortly after the beating shows severe swelling and bruising to her face, two black eyes nearly swollen shut, cuts to her lips and cheeks and a gauze taped to her face.
"I think it's their plea to the public to manipulate the situation, and I find it disrespectful and offensive," Kurtz said, adding that the resort's descriptions also constitute an attempt to "blame the victim" and that Lawrence-Daley had previously remained quiet about her ordeal at the resort's request.
Lawrence-Daley and her husband, Christopher Daley, have accused Dominican authorities of bungling the investigation, going so far as to question the results of a rape kit by saying it was inadequately performed two days after the attack and that it consisted only of an external swab. Lawrence-Daley said she lost consciousness during the attack and does not know whether or not she was sexually assaulted.
The Dominican Republic's Office of the Attorney General said its investigation has been hampered by "incongruent" statements on the part of Daley - a claim Daley described as "crazy" - and by the couple's refusal, in the presence of a U.S. Embassy official, to formally press charges.
Daley said he and his wife filed a complaint at a courthouse in the city of Higuey, an account that Kurtz backed up.
"[The filing of a complaint] can be accounted for by multiple witnesses, including a judge who was there and heard the complaint and took the testimony," Kurtz said.
NBC10 reached out to the State Department try to confirm whether an embassy official witnessed Lawrence-Daley and her husband refusing to file charges, but were told only that the department is aware of the case and is communicating with Dominican authorities during the ongoing investigation.
No arrests have been made.
In contention has also been Lawrence-Daley's claim that the resort refused to at least reimburse her for her stay and medical bills. Majestic Elegance said it both paid for her hospital stay and provided a "complementary extension" at the resort.
But Kurtz said that while, "It's appreciated that they paid for her immediate medical needs," the extended stay does not constitute reimbursement.
Nor, she said, is Majestic Elegance paying for ongoing medical bills or the mental side effects of the attack, for which Daley said both he and his wife are going to therapy.
"Outside of physical injuries, there's also mental recourse that will probably take a lifetime to recover," Kurtz said.
The competing narratives have caused some to question Lawrence-Daley's story, with Majestic Elegance criticizing American media outlets and saying that they "have reported on the story considering her accounts as true and definitive, without listening to the authorities' version, or waiting for a final resolution on the case."
Asked directly if the attack is an elaborate scam by Lawrence-Daley and her husband, Kurtz replied with an "Absolutely not."
"No," she said. "I don't think that I would be spending any ounce of time on this case if that was a possibility."