By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
AN American woman has taken to social media to detail her quest for justice over an alleged “kidnapping and rape” she claims occurred in The Bahamas some 20 years ago at the hands of a local parasailing boat operator.
Alicia Conte-Blackwood, a native of California, United States, in several public posts and videos uploaded to Facebook this week, outlined her journey back to The Bahamas with the intent of filing a formal police report of the incident she said occurred on Athol Island, near Paradise Island in the late 1990s.
In her main post, which has been shared more than 1,200 times, Mrs Conte-Blackwood claimed she had long contemplated making her alleged abuse public but was scared off, adding that now her “fear judgement” could no longer outweigh her need to “warn” persons visiting Paradise Island.
In the post, she alleged: “I was kidnapped off the shore twenty years ago in front of the Atlantis hotel by a parasailing boat driver that took my family the day before. He offered to take me for free I thought it was a good idea.”
“He took me to an abandoned island and raped me,” she further alleged. “He told me if I told anyone he would kill me and my family. I was so scared I never told for many years. I had pictures of the man all these years.
“Last week, the timing felt right and God spoke to my heart and said it was time.”
Mrs Conte-Blackwood said she travelled back to The Bahamas this week, along with her husband and a family friend, to file a report of the alleged incident and prevent similar attacks in the future.
However, her efforts to make the matter known to local authorities were also the subject of the social media post, as she claimed it took several trips to various police stations to file her report.
Describing that ordeal she wrote: “The way I was treated by police would have steered away most women and would have caused them to not report. Not me, I pushed them until I was able to make the report.”
Furthermore, Mrs Conte-Blackwood said she then travelled back to the beach she was allegedly taken from and was shocked to see the same “lack of security and safety for Americans” as she did 20 years ago.
She added: “I took a boat to the island he took me to hoping to get closure but it didn’t work. So we went to the beach where he abducted me and the oldest boat operator we saw.
“Five men identified the picture, I figured out where he worked and his name,” she claimed.
She said the US Embassy in The Bahamas was working with her to find her alleged abuser, however, the claim could not be verified with the embassy.
Inquiries made by The Tribune to local authorities with regards to Mrs Conte-Blackwood’s claims have all been unsuccessful.
The US Embassy has on several occasions warned Americans in The Bahamas of patronising water sports operators, stressing that the industry has been unregulated for some time.
The warnings came after a number of incidents where tourists where reportedly assaulted by operators.
Several alleged attacks occurred last year.