The rapes of two Detroit women at a Jamaican resort has accent a common botheration on the island getaway: animal assaults are ignored. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Chargeless Press
Hotel Riu Reggae is a all-embracing adults abandoned auberge in Montego Bay, Jamaica. (Photo: RIU Hotels and Resorts)
In a aphotic laundry allowance at a Jamaican Sandals resort, affianced to the attic by a auberge lifeguard, a Michigan teenage girl lay bedridden with abhorrence as the man bit her lip and raped her, violently annexation her virginity.
When her mother begin her afterwards the assault, trembling and captivation herself in a hallway, the 17-year-old couldn’t speak. She could only point to a metal door.
Behind the door, her acquaintance was actuality gang-raped by three resort lifeguards.
This is the Jamaica that the U.S. Accompaniment Administration has afresh warned tourists about. This is the island paradise that the government says has a common animal advance problem, the abode where two Detroit women were raped in September, and an estimated one American is raped anniversary month.
Over the aftermost seven years, 78 U.S. citizens accept been raped in Jamaica according to State Administration statistics from 2011-17. The victims include: A mentally bedridden woman in her 20s; an Indiana mother gang-raped by three Cuban soccer players in a resort bath stall; a 20-year-old woman raped by two men in her hotel; two Detroit mothers raped at gunpoint in their room; a Kent County jailbait and her 21-year-old friend, gang-raped by lifeguards in a bound laundry allowance at the resort breadth they were staying.
Oct. 2: Raped in Jamaica: Woman turns gun on antagonist who had climbed on her balustrade at 5-star hotel
Perhaps best alarming for tourists is that ual assaults are occurring inside gated resorts — the abode they are led to accept that they are best safe. For example, this year, the Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club, breadth the lifeguard assaults occurred in 2015, was accustomed the Travelers Choice Award by TripAdvisor; it’s the travel group’s accomplished acceptance accustomed to the top 1 percent of hotels.
According to U.S. Admiral reports, 12 Americans were raped in Jamaica aftermost year, bisected of them inside resorts by auberge employees. The U.S. government suspects this number may be college as animal assaults are generally underreported, and the admiral abstracts don’t accommodate victims from added countries.
The Detroit victims knew none of this aback they appointed their cruise to Jamaica. The two women were raped at gunpoint on Sept. 27 at the best Auberge Riu Reggae in Montego Bay, allegedly by a auberge agent who had formed there aloof three days. They are now outraged, praying for amends afterwards the all-overs they encountered during what was declared to be a fun 33rd altogether celebration.
When the women arise the abduction to auberge staff, administration told them that they had never heard of this blazon of advance accident there before. Bounded admiral took the aforementioned position, implying that animal assaults were rare.
But according to assorted victims interviewed by the Chargeless Press, a allotment of the USA TODAY Network, lawyers, lawsuits and hundreds of Accompaniment Administration and U.S. Admiral records, Jamaica has a animal advance botheration that it is not confronting. And the tourism industry is able-bodied acquainted of the problem.
As the State Administration warned in a travel advising this year:
“Exercise added absorption in Jamaica … Animal assaults action frequently, alike at all-embracing resorts. Bounded badge abridgement the assets to acknowledge finer to serious criminal incidents,” the Accompaniment Administration wrote in a Jan. 10 biking advisory.
The biking advisorywasn’t the aboriginal such alarm.
For three afterwards years, the Accompaniment Administration issued agnate warnings in 2012, 2013 and 2014 abomination reports, stating: “A appropriate affair continues to be the cardinal of animal assaults perpetrated by auberge advisers at resort hotels on the arctic bank of Jamaica, and the charge for bull assay and aftereffect by the hotels and by badge and added aegis officials.”
Last year, Jamaica was ranked the third best alarming country for changeable travelers by Cruise by Skyscanner, a California-based biking assay aggregation that reviews destinations worldwide. Egypt and Morocco topped the list.
When the Detroit women appointed their catch at Auberge Riu Reggae, they didn’t apperceive about the survey, either.
They looked advanced to their island break and enjoyed it, until the aftermost day of their vacation, aback a gunman burst into their allowance through their balustrade and accepted money. The women said they had no banknote and threw acclaim cards on the bed.
“He artsy the gun and said, ‘You apperceive that this is a gun … go about-face the lights off or I’m action to (expletive) annihilate you,’ ” one of the victims told the Chargeless Press.
The lights went off. He raped them both, they said, until one of the women got authority of the gun and attempt him twice. He was arrested the aing day and is adverse charges.
The doubtable is: Scott Dowe, 24, of Jamaica, who was arrested Friday, Sept. 28, 2018 for allegedly raping two Detroit women vacationing in a Jamaican hotel. One of the victims attempt Dowe, who jumped from a auberge balustrade and fled. (Photo: Montego Bay Badge Department, )
The Detroit victims accept said the badge were helpful, but the hotel seemed dismissive.
“They said they had never heard of this before,” recalled one of the victims.
The Sandals resort victims and their mothers — all of them from Michigan — heard the aforementioned band in 2015 aback they arise the laundry-room rapes to the auberge management.
“The auberge said, ‘This has never happened,’ ” one mother recalled. “The administrator capital us to assurance cardboard assignment adage annihilation happened.”
The mother wouldn’t apprehend of it, and has been addled anytime since.
“My babe will never accept justice,” the woman said in a recent exclusive account with the Chargeless Press. “These girls aren’t the aforementioned girls.”
Dr. Lee Bailey, who chairs a badge civic committee in Jamaica, said the country has “very austere rules” as to who works in hotels.
When he abstruse about the rapes of the Detroit women in Montego Bay, he said: “I’ve never heard of this accident before.” He additionally bidding affair that the auberge aggregation — an all-embracing chain based in Spain — did not appropriately vet the agent answerable in the attack.
A Detroit woman seeks abundance afterwards she and a acquaintance got raped by a apache while vacationing in Jamaica on Sept. 27, 2018. The victim, who is on the right, got the gun and attempt the attacker, who is in badge custody. The added victim is not pictured. (Photo: Tresa Baldas, Detroit Chargeless Press)
The doubtable is 24-year-old Demar Scott, a ballerina and ball coordinator who was capital by badge for added crimes afore landing the job at the resort.
Six months afore he was assassin to assignment at the Auberge Riu Reggae, the Maner police in axial Jamaica posted a capital ad for Scott on its association Facebook page, calling him a actuality of absorption in affiliation with a string of rapes in their parish.
The badge offered $35,000 for tips on Scott’s whereabouts.
Six months later, he got a job at the Montego Bay resort, breadth badge say he blanket a gun from a guest’s room and afresh acclimated it to abduction the two vacationers from Detroit.
Meanwhile, the administration of RIU Hotels & Resorts is defending its hiring practices, calling the Montego Bay rapes unfortunate, and isolated incidents.
“On September 27th, there was a actual adverse adventure in the RIU Reggae Auberge in which a man, who was a abecedarian at the ball administration of the hotel, attacked two of our guests,” RIU Resorts said in a account to the Chargeless Press. “The aggressor, who had been in training for abandoned three days, managed to escape at first, but acknowledgment to the assignment of the badge with the abounding accord of the auberge management, he was arrested a few hours afterwards and brought to justice.”
The doubtable has not been brought to justice; he has abandoned been charged. And he was not arrested a few hours afterwards the attack, but rather the aing day aback hospital agents alerted badge that they were alleviative a cutting victim, badge said.
RIU also said that it took able vetting accomplish in hiring Scott.
“It is accordant to agenda that RIU Hotels & Resorts has a actual astringent and accurate aegis agreement apropos the hiring of advisers and trainees. The agreement was followed and the affidavit requested,” the aggregation stated.
According to RIU, aback Scott activated for the job, he had a advocacy letter from a justice of the peace, a advocacy from an ball administrator from addition company, and a résumé with acquaintance and apprenticeship accordant to the position he activated for.
“The badge almanac is additionally consistently requested above-mentioned to formalizing the assignment contract,” RIU stated, afterwards answer if a criminal record or badge address absolutely angry up in Scott’s accomplishments check.
RIU additionally said the auberge administration acted appropriately that night, adage its “immediate priority” was to accompany and abutment the victims, assignment carefully with the badge and added authorities, and “to advance the calm and accustomed operation of the auberge in application for all of the guests.” “This was an aberrant event,” RIU said.
In May 2015, a adolescent adult from Ingham County called Paiton was afraid by her mother with a cruise to Jamaica for her 21st birthday.
The five-day break to the Beaches Ocho Rio Resort & Golf Club, a Sandals acreage in Boscobel, amount $5,000, which was breach with addition mother and her daughter.
For four days, Paiton enjoyed the allowances of the all-embracing resort, until the aftermost night of her trip, aback three auberge lifeguards she accustomed from the basin absorbed her into a bound laundry allowance and anniversary one raped her.
“I froze up. I was absolutely bedridden with fear,” the now-24-year-old Paiton said in a contempo interview. “The one affair that absolutely still stands out is actuality larboard in that allowance alone, and my mom award me. … I anticipation that I had done article wrong.”
Paiton wasn’t the abandoned victim that night. Her 17-year-old acquaintance Amber additionally was raped by one of the lifeguards. The teen was assaulted aboriginal in the aforementioned laundry room, admitting the resort approved to adumbrate what happened, she said.
“They capital to accumulate us quiet. They didn’t appetite anyone to apperceive that anything like that could arise at their resort,” Paiton said.
For years, Paiton, Amber and their mothers said annihilation about the animal advance they experienced, but grew annoyed of blockage silent. This month, they decided to allotment their adventure with the Chargeless Press afterwards acquirements about the rapes of the Detroit women.
Like the Detroit victims, Paiton, Amber and their mothers believed that the resorts breadth they were blockage were safe, and they were blind of the Accompaniment Department’s biking advisories.
“I appetite bodies to be added acquainted of what could happen,” said Amber’s mother, Maggie, who couldn’t beddy-bye for months afterward her daughter’s rape. “Every time I’d aing my eyes, all I could anticipate of is what happened.”
According to Paiton, Amber, their mothers and dozens of court abstracts filed in a awaiting civilian suit, actuality are the contest that led to the night of terror at the Beaches Ocho Rio Resort.
Amber speaks about actuality raped during a vacation break at the Beaches Ocho Rio Resort & Golf Club, a Sandals acreage in Boscobel. (Photo: Junfu Han, Detroit Chargeless Press)
During the trip, Amber and Paiton spent time at the basin and baptize slides, breadth three lifeguards fraternized with them, agreeable in accidental chat and allurement how connected they were staying.
On May 8, 2015, the aftermost night of their trip, Amber and Paiton ran into the lifeguards in a auberge alley while on their way to a piano bar. That’s aback one of the lifeguards took Amber by the duke and said, ‘Cmon, I appetite to appearance you something.’
He opened a bound metal aperture that apprehend employees-only and led Amber central what was an industrial laundry room. Paiton, who had her aback angry to Amber for a few seconds, became abashed and asked one of the added lifeguards breadth the man had taken Amber, acquainted she was amenable for the adolescent girl. The added lifeguard said, ‘Cmon, I’ll booty you to her.’ “
Once inside, Paiton would ache the aforementioned fate as Amber, who was arise by her antagonist afterwards accepting an all-overs attack. But the lifeguards did not let Paiton go. She was trapped in the room, breadth three auberge employees, including the man who raped Amber, ually assaulted her.
The aboriginal guy pushed her up adjoin the wall and pulled her pants down.
She pleaded with him to stop. She said she didn’t appetite to do this, that she had to go aback to her room. But the lifeguard wouldn’t accept as he angrily raped her adjoin the wall.
Then came the additional lifeguard. He raped her, too, as she agilely wept.
The third lifeguard was appropriately forceful. She dug her fingernails into his leg to try to advance him away. But he baffled her, so she backward quiet until it was over, aflutter her attackers adeptness annihilate her.
Meanwhile, Amber and Paiton’s mothers were aback in the auberge allowance packing aback they absitively to go acquisition the girls and accept them alpha packing, too. It was about 10:30 p.m. But the mothers couldn’t acquisition their daughters. They combed the auberge floors, the basin area, the beach. The women started to panic.
Eventually, the mothers came off an elevator onto the fourth attic aback they saw Amber angled adjoin a wall dazed. . Aback they asked her breadth Paiton was, she pointed to a metal door. It was locked. The mothers started anguish on the door, screaming. A auberge agent absolved by them, and aloof kept walking.
Amber, right, holds her mother Maggie’s duke during an account with the Detroit Chargeless Press. (Photo: Junfu Han, Detroit Chargeless Press)
Paiton’s mother afresh ran to the advanced lath and yelled to the night manager, “My daughter is bound in a allowance with advisers and I can’t get in there!”
By the time the administrator got to the laundry allowance with a key, the attackers had fled out the metal door, but larboard Paiton bound inside. When the auberge administrator apart the door, Paiton’s mom yelled out her daughter’s name.
“She was below bottomward and afraid abaft a wall,” Paiton’s mother, Janet, recalled. “She climbed over these towels and put her accoutrements about me.”
The mothers took their daughters aback to the auberge room. They still didn’t apperceive what had happened.
The adolescent women were shaken, and not talking. Paiton cried, and said she capital a shower. One of the girls captivated up three fingers — aggravating to signal that she was assaulted by three men.
Paiton’s mom said, “Oh my God, were you guys raped?”
The girls nodded and sobbed.
“I told the girls, ‘We’re action to the advanced desk.’ I fabricated a scene. I airtight my easily on the counter,” recalled Paiton’s mom, acquainted the U.S. Admiral and badge were summoned.
The daydream connected backward into the night. Badge admiral in a Jeep Cherokee collection the four women to a bounded hospital that they said looked like a abandoned clinic. The flowered bedding on the hospital beds were stained. The agents associates who tended to them did not ablution their hands.
The medical staff who performed the abduction tests were men. Paiton’s mom, an oncology nurse, said the men didn’t apperceive how to administrate the abduction kits, so she showed them. The victims were additionally accustomed HIV medications and the morning-after us at the hospital, admitting they didn’t booty the anesthetic until later.
After six hours at the hospital, the girls were transported to the badge base for depositions, which took six added hours. Eventually, they were taken back to the resort, breadth they connected to backpack their accoutrements and were afresh transferred to a couples-resort. Sandals agents asked the women if they capital to acknowledgment to the U.S. appropriate away, or stay longer in Jamaica to baby-sit the ytic process.
The victims and Amber’s mom all capital to leave. Paiton’s mom disagreed.
“I said, ‘We’re staying. If we go home, we may never get justice,’ ” Paiton’s mom recalled.
In the five added canicule that they backward in Jamaica, the victims articular the suspects in a photo lineup. They acquired hospital annal and badge reports. Accuse were filed adjoin the assailants, but the suspects were arise on bail.
It has been added than three years aback the 2015 laundry allowance assaults and there has been no trial; the suspects abide chargeless on bail.
The mothers are now agnostic about whether amends will prevail. Amber is still hopeful, and says she is administration her adventure to protect added women.
“You’re declared to feel safe at the resort,” Amber said. “And it was the advisers who assaulted us.”
Amber, Paiton and their mothers filed a civilian clothing in federal cloister in Florida, seeking to authority Sandals Resorts International, Beaches Resorts and added biking companies accountable for the animal assaults that occurred in Jamaica.
Sandals and the added defendants are trying to get the case dismissed, arguing it doesn’t accord in American courts, but rather should be transferred to Jamaica because the defendants, witnesses, badge and potential affirmation are there.
“Litigating this accusation in Florida would be annoying and an inefficient use of the administrative assets of this court,” attorneys for Sandals altercate in cloister documents. “In this matter, Jamaica acutely has an absorption in accepting this action absitively by the courts in Jamaica, breadth the contest and absolute allegations are bounded to Jamaica. This action additionally bears on one of Jamaica’s better industries: tourism.”
Sandals additionally maintains that it cannot be captivated accountable for the suspects’ actions, arguing the resort wasn’t on any apprehension of any animal delinquency by the lifeguards, nor could it accept accepted that the suspects would appoint in such behavior.
Moreover, Sandals attorneys argue, the suspects’ declared accomplishments “undoubtedly accept annihilation to do with the resort.”
“These individuals stepped alfresco their application as lifeguards … and committed these acts alone to added their own self-interest,” Sandals attorneys accept argued in cloister documents. “In fact, the declared accomplishments of (the suspects) if anything, aching Beaches’ tourism business.”
Nobody was added aching than the victims, altercate the plaintiffs.
“The affair that stands out is that my audience had no abstraction that Jamaica was this dangerous,” said advocate Todd Weglarz, of the Fieger Law close in Southfield, who is apery the four Michigan women.
Since the 2015 incident, Weglarz said the U.S. Admiral has shared information with his audience about animal assaults at Jamaican resorts, accurately cogent them that attacks about arise on the aftermost night of tourists’ vacations. The cerebration is that predators — who apperceive apperceive aback guests are blockage out — presume that visitors don’t appetite to go through the hassles of an investigation.
Rather than afraid about and filing badge reports, he said, advance victims arch aback home and put it abaft them, with the rapists walking away.
“There’s no amends in Jamaica,” Weglarz said. “The resort industry knows it. The law administration bodies apperceive it. The admiral knows it. … It’s alarming there.”
Jamaican advocate Gordon Brown, a above adviser to the Jamaica Tourist Board, said he is acquainted of animal assaults involving tourists, acquainted his law close has “had ample acknowledgment to that array of affair in the advance of our practice.” But it doesn’t arise that crimes are a boundless problem, he said.
“The Jamaican Tourist Lath tends to adviser and badge this advice absolutely rigorously. All allegations of assault, robbery or any adventure of bent action is typically actual anxiously investigated,” Brown said, abacus that abutment and counseling are offered to victims already advance claims appear to the absorption of the board.
Brown said that he is not acquainted of the Accompaniment Administration statistics that appearance on average, one American a ages is raped in Jamaica. He said that over the years, his law close has represented hotels and auberge operators in civilian apparel involving animal assaults, but that in “several instances the allegations accept not been substantiated.
He said a big affair with animal advance cases in Jamaica is consent.
“I would never ambition in any way to abase or adios the allegations by a woman that they accept been assaulted, but in the ambience of an accusation that this is accident on a boundless base in Jamaica — this requires a actual accurate ysis,” Brown said.
“Most hotels accept a zero-tolerance attitude adjoin auberge advisers accepting any blazon of animal appointment with guests … this is decidedly so in the case of all-embracing hotels,” Brown said, abacus that animal advance claims by guests are “virtually impossible” to defend. “Most hotels artlessly booty a zero-tolerance attitude.”
Gordon added: “Crimes adjoin tourists in Jamaica charcoal very, actual low.”
But victims say otherwise.
In March 2015, an Indiana woman and her admirer took what was declared to be a relaxing, six-day break to Jamaica. They backward at the all-embracing Holiday Inn Sun Spree resort in Montego Bay.
During their trip, Cuba’s civic soccer team was blockage at the same resort, in boondocks for an all-embracing affable bout with Jamaica.
On March 31, 2015, the Indiana woman’s activity was upended, allegedly by three Cuban soccer players. According to federal cloister records, the woman was in a bound bath arrest aback the players barged into the restroom, entered the arrest aing to chastening and climbed over to her stall, one at a time, and raped her.
The woman was eventually rescued by her boyfriend, who became anxious that she had not alternate from the bath and went to assay on her.
That’s aback he heard the screams.
The admirer entered into the bath and physically fought off the attackers, who “were captured by a video surveillance camera beat bottomward a stairwell,” cloister annal show.
The woman arise the advance to the auberge staff, who summoned the police, the U.S. Admiral and medical personnel. The woman articular her attackers in a photo lineup. A abduction kit was calm at a bounded hospital. DNA affirmation was calm from the woman, her admirer and the arena of the assault.
The woman and her admirer larboard Jamaica four canicule afterwards the incident.
The suspects eventually left, too, but unscathed.
According to cloister annal and an advocate for the woman, the suspects banned to accommodate DNA affirmation in the case, so badge had to let them go, claiming Jamaican law prohibits compelling suspects to accommodate DNA.
Nine canicule afterwards the incident, the Cuban soccer players were arise from aegis and accustomed to acknowledgment to their country.
“When you hear article like this — this could arise to anyone at any accustomed time. You go achieve and it turns into one of the affliction adventures a actuality can have,” said Indianapolis advocate Jason Shartzer, who represented the woman and her now-husband in bootless civilian suits.
“There was no amends for my client.”
Shartzer was balked on several fronts: There was no aegis in the alley breadth the bath advance occurred, he said; Police were clumsy to pursue the amount criminally; and there were no acknowledged remedies in the United States.
“It was black that we couldn’t do anything,” Shartzer said.
Shartzer filed a accusation adjoin the hotel, alleging it bootless to assure his client while she was a bedfellow there. But the accusation was absolved on March 26, 2018 on authoritative grounds.
He also filed a civilian clothing adjoin Cuba, alleging the Cuban government intervened on the players’ account and compromised the investigation. But a federal adjudicator absolved the accusation in November 2017, concluding the soccer players weren’t acting aural the ambit of their application as Cuban athletes aback they attacked her.
To this day, no accuse accept been filed adjoin the rapists.
According to the Jamaica Tourist Board, added than 1 actor Americans appointment Jamaica every year, accounting for about two-thirds of all visitors to the island, whose blue-green littoral waters, brilliant acclimate and above reggae vibe draws billions in tourism dollars.
Americans are the better contributors, spending more than $3 billion in Jamaica in 2017, a 15-percent access from the $2.6 billion they spent in 2016. Jamaica additionally has enjoyed a abiding access in American tourists over the aftermost bristles years, from 1.1 actor U.S. visitors in 2013 to 1.5 actor in 2017.
But while tourism has grown, so have warnings about animal violence, as apparent by the abundant Accompaniment Administration biking advisories and abomination letters that accredit to ual assaults as a “historic concern” in Jamaica.
Jamaica, however, has fabricated some advance on this front. The Accompaniment Administration said that auberge assaults involving Americans alone in 2016. For example, out of 18 Americans raped in Jamaica that year, aloof one occurred at a resort.
But the botheration crept aback in 2017: Out of the dozen of Americans ually assaulted in Jamaica that year, six were attacked in resorts at the easily of employees.
“Sexual assaults adjoin American guests by auberge advisers at resort hotels on the arctic bank accept afresh risen,” the Accompaniment Department wrote in a 2018 report.
“The Administration of Accompaniment has no greater albatross than the assurance and aegis of U.S. citizens overseas,” a Accompaniment Administration official wrote in an email to the Chargeless Press. “Part of that albatross is accouterment advice to advice U.S. citizens accomplish a decisions about traveling abroad.”
The Jamaica Constabulary Force, the country’s official badge force, did not acknowledge to assorted requests for comment. Neither did Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Accompaniment Administration has questioned Jamaica’s adeptness to do annihilation about the problem, acquainted its badge force is advised “underpaid, ailing accomplished and understaffed.”
“Reporting abomination can assume archaic,” the Accompaniment Administration has stated. “And the confusing, diffuse action is broadly believed to be a decay of time.”
This can leave victims activity abandoned further, abandoned and hopeless.
If a U.S. aborigine has been a victim of animal advance overseas, the State Administration urges them to acquaintance the Office of Across Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or the aing U.S. admiral or consulate. Additionally, it encourages Americans traveling across to accept their biking affairs in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP.state.gov) so they can accept important letters about their destinations, including alerts and updates to biking advisories.
Read or Allotment this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/2018/10/30/jamaica-resorts-tripadvisor-ual-assault/1816675002/
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