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River North banker drugged, sexually assaulted woman in Italy: lawsuit

The lawsuit alleges that the Merill Lynch banker put something in the woman’s drink, causing her to black out.

Video surveillance allegedly shows Thomas Kane carrying Sahra Isla to his hotel room in Capri, Italy on July 1, 2018.
Video surveillance allegedly shows Thomas Kane carrying Sahra Isla to his hotel room in Capri, Italy on July 1, 2018.
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A Chicago banker who works for Merill Lynch is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, leaving her with an STD while she was on a trip to Italy with two friends.

Thomas Kane, of River North, allegedly drugged a cocktail of French citizen Sahra Isla, and then carried her to his hotel room and sexually assaulted her during her vacation to Capri, Italy on July 1, 2018, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court.

The pair met days before the alleged incident, when Isla and her two friends had trouble finding lodging during the busy tourist season in Italy, the lawsuit states. Kane, a friend of one of the women, offered for them to stay in a separate room in his hotel suite that had a sofa coach, according to the lawsuit. They accepted.

Two nights later, Kane and Isla went to a night club with Isla’s two friends and ordered drinks, the lawsuit states. Kane allegedly pressured her to drink cocktails and brought her a second drink from the bar.

After Isla “consumed a couple of sips of the second drink, she began to feel extremely dizzy and tired,” the lawsuit states. “A wave of exhaustion hit (Isla), and she could no longer stand.”

The lawsuit alleges that Kane put something in Isla’s drink, causing her to black out. She woke up the next day on the bed in Kane’s room — not on the sofa bed where she had been sleeping, according to the suit. She realized that she had been sexually assaulted, and that Kane had already left on a return flight to the U.S.

Video surveillance from the hotel shows Kane carrying Isla on his back through the hotel lobby just before 4 a.m. that morning, according to the suit.

“It is clear from both the video and the still shots that [Isla] was not fully conscious and barely able to stand, and she certainly was in no position to consent to have contact of a sexual nature,” the lawsuit states.

Isla cut her vacation short and saw a doctor who diagnosed her with chlamydia, which the lawsuit states she contracted from Kane.

The lawsuit says Isla is “severely traumatized” from the sexual battery and “feels paralyzed on a personal and professional level.” The lawsuit accuses Kane of committing gender related violence, battery and intentional inflection of emotional distress, and demands a trial by jury.

Edward Pacer, a lawyer representing Isla in Chicago, said the allegations are extremely serious and alarming, “particularly in this day and age — the Me Too era — when a lack of yes means no.”

Kane’s lawyer, Andrew Schapiro, said in an email that the video actually shows Kane helping Isla back to the hotel, and that other evidence would show that their relationship was consensual.

“We have documentary and photographic evidence proving that the two had a consensual relationship,” Schapiro said. “We are confident that this sorry attempt to tarnish Mr. Kane’s reputation will not get far in court.”