Lawsuit claims faulty screening of HHI apartment applicants led to 2020 child molestation

A Beaufort County mother is suing Hilton Head Gardens apartments after her 14-year-old daughter was allegedly attacked by a tenant in the parking lot, claiming the rental company’s negligent screening practices contributed to the 2020 assault and other violent crimes on property.

Court documents say the 14-year-old was visiting a friend in the Gardens apartments on December 30, 2020 when she stopped to socialize with 26-year-old tenant Katara Greene in the parking lot. Greene suddenly became “confrontational and verbally abusive” with the girl, knocking her to the ground and slamming her head into concrete.

The teenager suffered a concussion and is now suffering from ‘debilitating’ and ‘persistent’ post-concussion headaches, leaving her bedridden for several days a month, according to the court summons.

Court documents claim Hilton Head Gardens enabled the attack by negligently renting an apartment to Greene, despite his long criminal history. Court records show Greene had previous convictions for third degree battery, credit card fraud, neglect to report a felony, giving false information to law enforcement, a drug charge and a number traffic offences.

Hilton Head Gardens evicted Greene from the resort in November 2021, according to court records.

Filed in Beaufort County Civil Court Thursday, the lawsuit alleges that Hilton Head Gardens has been “plagued by violent crime” over the past decade, citing several other incidents that have occurred at the resort: a shooting in August 2020 that had someone hospitalized, the murder of a Bluffton teenager in December 2018 or a young child shot dead in broad daylight on August 21, 2017.

Calls and emails seeking comment were sent Thursday to representatives of Hilton Head Gardens and the property’s parent companies – Hilton Head Investment Properties, LP, Frye Properties, Inc. and Frye-HH, LLC. No response was received by Friday’s deadline.

Bryan Schivera, a Savannah attorney representing the injured girl’s mother, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Leave a Comment