Local woman accuses Las Vegas casino mogul of assault - KMOV.com

Local woman accuses Las Vegas casino mogul of assault

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Patti Velasco says Steve Wynn sexually assaulted her multiple times 40 years ago. Credit: KMOV and Atlantic City Magazine Patti Velasco says Steve Wynn sexually assaulted her multiple times 40 years ago. Credit: KMOV and Atlantic City Magazine
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

The Me Too movement has taken the country by storm and now it's come much closer to home.

One local woman says she is a victim of one of the people who recently made national headlines.

Patti Velasco has never before spoken publicly about what happened to her back in Las Vegas in the 1970's.

Even 40 years later, she can barely look at a picture of the man she says assaulted her, casino mogul, Steve Wynn.

“He had the money, he had the control, you did what he wanted,” Patti said.

Patti grew up in Ferguson, according to her, without street smarts.

“Naive, very young, very sweet, very naïve,” said Patti.

But at 22-years-old, she moved out to Las Vegas looking for a new life.

“It’s different than the suburbs of St. Louis. You learn a lot,” she said.

She landed a coveted job as a blackjack dealer at the Golden Nugget, an up and coming casino owned by Steve Wynn.

It was a time when women were just breaking into casinos as far as dealers.

She wanted to make it and liked the work.

But it all changed, when Wynn approached her about a month after she started.

“He came up to my table and asked who I was and I told him and he said, you're new, I need to get to know you better,” she said.

Patti says she went to his office, he handed her a drink, she felt groggy, and they had sex.

She says she told him, no, but it didn't seem to matter.

“I needed that job, he knew that and he used that to control me,” she said.

News 4 has taken lengths to corroborate Patti’s story.

For example, it took some work, but News 4 tracked down one of Patti's former co-workers, Patti hasn't spoken to her in nearly a decade.

The woman told News 4 she vividly remembers Patti talking about what Wynn did.

She did not want to do it, but she thought she had to in order to keep her job.

Patti's name has now added to a long list of accusers against Wynn, though, her case may be one of the oldest.             

Dozens of women have accused Wynn of various forms of sexual assault and harassment over decades.

Earlier this month, the mogul resigned from his positions of power.

Seeing him on the news prompted Patti to come forward.

“I listened to what they said, and I jumped up screaming and said ‘Halleluiah, it's finally coming out, it's finally, finally coming out,’” she said.

Patti says Wynn called her to him a total of three times and each time there a sexual encounter, always with the same emotional reaction from Patti.

“Dirty and disgusted that I allowed it to happen because that's how I felt,” she said.

Her bosses, she says, knew exactly what was going on and supported it.  

“He used that to degrade people. It was, you’re right here under my thumb and you can't get away unless I lift my thumb, that was his power and he relished in it.

In fact, their very last encounter, she says, made it clear. 

“He pushed me into the corner and said he wanted to see me again, and I said, ‘I really don't want to do this anymore, I have a boyfriend that I care about.’ Within three days, I was accused of lying cheating and stealing,” she said. “He pushed me out.”

Patti says she knew she would be ruined if she didn't leave. She finally came back home to the St. Louis area.

But what happened has stayed with her forever, often leaving her in fits of rage.

“I hope that by doing this, I don’t have to feel that rage anymore,” she said.

“I just don't want women to wait as long as I did, come forward, get yourself some help,” she said.

News 4 reached out to representatives for Steve Wynn and received the same statement sent to other media outlets regarding other women's accusations.

The statement reads, in part: "The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous. We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits.  It is deplorable for anyone to find themselves in this situation.

Wynn further blamed the accusations on his wife and their divorce.

Though News 4 requested one, we did not receive a statement from the Golden Nugget.

Patti has recently gone to the Las Vegas police to report her story.  The department confirmed they've talked to her.

They said they would still investigate, acknowledging the allegations are past the statute of limitations.

Patti says she knows that too, but she said this was about telling her story and encouraging others to come forward when they've been victims.

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