Casino offers free meal as compensation to kidnapping victim

Jon Pill
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Posted on: March 16, 2021 12:13 pm EDT

An 85-year old woman is suing the Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino. The woman was assaulted on, and abducted from, the Wind Creek premises. As compensation for her ordeal, the casino initially offered her a free meal.

On December 11th, 2019, the woman in question had won a “nominal” amount at the slot machines. She had been playing on Wind Creek’s main floor. Hykeem Sessoms, a Bethlehem, PA local resident, followed the woman through the casino to the cashier.

According to the court reports, once she had cashed in, Sessoms followed her out into the casino’s parking garage. There he stopped her, told her he had a gun, demanded money, and threatened her with violence. When she refused to hand over her money, he kicked her shins and struck her over the head.

After that, Sessoms forced his victim into her car. From the back seat, he directed her to drive out into the street. There he rifled through her handbag and made off with seven single-dollar bills.

This rather bathetic haul triggered a manhunt through Bethlehem that put the local schools into lockdown. Sessoms was found crouching between two cars not far from the scene of the crime.

The cops dragged Sessoms in. The courts set bail at $1 million. Given the success of his last robbery, it should not come as a surprise that Sessoms couldn’t pay that price. Last month the court gave him a 12 to 24-year stretch. That’s the end of the story as far as Sessoms is concerned. But for the victim it has been a whole other kettle of fish.

No such thing as a free meal

The seven dollars Sessoms made off with was small beans. Especially when weighed against the violence and coercion he resorted to in trying to earn it.

The victim is, according to the lawsuit filed against Wind Creek, “affected by this every day.”

She allegedly suffers flashbacks, rarely leaves her house, and generally shows the signs of PTSD. That’s unsurprising from a little old lady who thought she was going to be murdered. All for less than the cost of a couple of Big Macs.

“Her life and independence have been forever impacted by the events […] that were permitted to occur due to Wind Creek’s negligence and recklessness,” John Pinto, the victim’s lawyer, wrote in the lawsuit.

The suit alleges that the casino was guilty of gross negligence. Pinto goes on to state that the casino’s CCTV captured the entire incident.

The perpetrator stalked his prey without any intervention by the security staff. No one responded to the victim’s screams in the car park. Yet police reports show that at least one employee heard her screaming at her assailant.

“This is just particularly concerning since the casino targets this vulnerable population of seniors as clients to profit from,” Pinto said. “But then they’re not taking the most appropriate measures to make sure these people are safe.”

The lawsuit is aiming at a $50,000 payday plus legal expenses. This is rather more than the comped meal that the Wind Creek management initially offered.

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