By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
A CANADIAN woman was allegedly sexually assaulted by a Jet Ski operator near Paradise Island yesterday afternoon, according to police.
The incident took place shortly after 1.30pm on a cay near Cabbage Beach.
Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Dean said the victim alleged that a male Jet Ski operator took her on a ride from Cabbage Beach to a cay off Paradise Island where he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
An employee of the Atlantis resort who was on the beach shortly after the alleged incident told The Tribune he saw the woman, who appeared to be in her late 20s crying and shaking in the sand.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said the woman could barely speak when he saw her on Cabbage Beach.
“I work on the beach and I saw the lady earlier—she was walking on the beach around 11am and then she went with this guy on the Jet Ski. About an hour or so later, she came back and there was a crowd of people around her, she was crying real loud and shaking,” he said.
“I went over there and she was saying she was raped. She thought I was the security and she told me that he (a Jet Ski driver) raped her,” the hotel employee claimed. “She said she told him she didn’t have any money and he said the ride was free so she went with him. She claimed he took her to either Rose Island or Sandy Cay and raped her. She even said he left the condom right there on the beach and then he brought her back and took off. This guy doesn’t normally work around here, he comes once in a while but the normal operators don’t like him because he has a bad reputation. He has been accused before of groping a woman on the beach. Something happened to her, she was shaking and crying. It’s a shame these men who don’t work over here are giving the Jet Ski operators who normally work here a bad reputation.”
Last year, amid allegations of rape against those in the water sports industry, The Cove at Atlantis warned its guests against renting Jet Skis on Cabbage Beach, adding that doing so is “at your own risk.”
A copy of a letter to guests of The Cove - one of the Atlantis resort’s hotel brands – noted: “We are also concerned about your safety and security and are therefore obligated to bring to your attention a matter related to the use of the beach.”
The letter told guests that water sports operators are not associated with the hotel and their industry is “minimally regulated.”
In March this year, the US Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) cautioned US citizens travelling to the Bahamas for spring break to “avoid Jet Ski operators” because these individuals “continue to commit sexual assaults and other crimes against tourists, including US citizens.”
The OSAC also cautioned US Embassy personnel not to use Jet Ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Island, including Cabbage Beach and Cable Beach. The department also “strongly” recommended they “avoid patronising Jet Ski rental operations.”
Last year, a 29-year-old Jet Ski operator was remanded to prison without bail after being charged with the sexual assault of a 24-year-old woman on Athol Island sometime on Saturday, January 2, 2016.
As a result of that incident, the US Embassy in Nassau also “prohibited” its employees from using Jet Ski rentals in Nassau.
In December 2015, police arrested a Jet Ski operator in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a female visitor. That incident allegedly took place at Cabbage Beach.
In 2014, an American woman claimed she had developed post-traumatic stress disorder following an encounter near Paradise Island with Jet Ski operators who allegedly tried to sexually assault her.