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Court Hears Conflicting Stories Over Rape Claims

A SENIOR immigration officer and a Jamaican woman have given conflicting accounts of the night she was allegedly raped by him, with the officer saying the complainant asked for it and her saying he made lewd overtures to her while he was lying in bed naked.

Claudia Edwards Bethel, in a detailed statement to police, claimed she met Norman Bastian lying in the nude moments before she claims he raped her twice and forced her to perform oral sex in his house between December 15 and 16, 2014.

Mrs Bethel, who previously waived her right to anonymity in an earlier interview with The Tribune, is suing the government in a civil matter after her rape case was tossed out of court years ago. Mr Bastian was never convicted of the offence.

Mrs Bethel claims she showed indifference when she walked in on Mr Bastian in the nude, however he subsequently made sexual comments.

However, Mr Bastian, in his statement, said Mrs Bethel was the aggressor in the encounter, claiming she freely pulled down her pants to show him the tattoos she had on her buttocks, to her telling him outright that she wanted him to have sex with her.

And as to how Mrs Bethel ended up at his house in the first place, he said he was officially off from work and had completed the investigation concerning Mrs Bethel, thus he “saw no reason why he shouldn’t socialise with her”.

However, Mr Bastian said it was never his intention to have Mrs Bethel stay the night, much less have sex with her. However, he claimed she ended up spending the night because she told him that she felt safe with him, and that she was tired and hungry.

According to Mrs Bethel’s statement, upon leaving the Carmichael Road Detention Centre (CRDC) on December 15, 2014 they eventually made their way to a liquor store where he purchased a bottle of red wine and also got two cups of ice.

Afterwards, she said they made their way to a white house near Nassau Village, which would turn out to be Mr Bastian’s house. By that time, she said she had already consumed at least one cup of wine.

Mrs Bethel said when she and Mr Bastian entered his house, she saw another male inside eating. She said the man and Mr Bastian subsequently began conversing with one another.

Mrs Bethel said she told Mr Bastian she wanted to leave because she was hungry, but she said Mr Bastian replied, “Food right here.” She said he got some stewed fish from the fridge, warmed it up and gave it to her to eat.

At around 10.12pm, and after eating the stewed fish, Mrs Bethel said she was seated in the front room with a wrestling programme on television. She said Mr Bastian sat next to her, trying to get her to drink more wine.

Mrs Bethel said she refused, and told him she wanted to go home and see her kids. However, she said he invited her to go upstairs. She said he subsequently took the plate from her and followed her up the stairs.

Once on the second floor, she said he asked her if she would like to take a shower, to which she said yes. After doing so, she said she made her way to the bedroom that was facing the staircase, where Mr Bastian was lying on the bed, naked.

Mrs Bethel said she told the senior immigration officer to take her home, but he replied: “Come, you don’t want me feel this nice, sexy body?” Mrs Bethel said she replied, “No, I ain’t come for that.”

In response however, she said Mr Bastian said made a sexual overture.

She said Mr Bastian then pulled her to the bed and pushed her on it. She said she didn’t resist because she was afraid. According to her statement, she attributed her fear to Mr Bastian previously telling her that he had a gun. Additionally, she said didn’t know where the other male from earlier was.

Mrs Bethel said Mr Bastian lifted up her shirt and began performing a sexual act. Afterwards, Mrs Bethel said Mr Bastian retrieved a condom from the nightstand and proceeded to have sex without her consent. After awhile, she said he ejaculated in the condom, removed it and placed it into the nightstand drawer, then fell asleep.

Mrs Bethel said she in turn sat in the bed “praying” and crying, before she too fell asleep.

The next morning she said she was awakened by Mr Bastian hugging her. After brushing her teeth, she said she approached Mr Bastian and again told him that she wanted to go home. However, she said Mr Bastian made a lewd remark, pulled her on top of him and made her perform oral sex.

Afterwards, she said he got another condom out of the drawer and forced her to have sex a second time.

Sometime later, Mrs Bethel said Mr Bastian asked her to perform another sexual act. Afterwards, she said she told him she needed to go home, to which he obliged.

However, Mr Bastian’s December 17, 2014 statement to police tells a different story.

He said on the night in question, after having left the CRDC, he and Mrs Bethel went to his house because “she said she felt safe with me”. Mr Bastian said Mrs Bethel told him she was hungry and tired, so he fed her a helping of stewed fish.

However, he said he did not plan for her to stay the night, or have sex with her.

Mr Bastian said Mrs Bethel was watching wrestling, something he said was one of her favourite programmes to watch. He said they ultimately ended up talking about a tattoo she has on her back. Then, Mr Bastian said Mrs Bethel told him “I have more tattoos you know?” before pulling down her pants and showing him the tattoos on her buttocks. Afterwards, he said they both fell asleep on the couch.

Mr Bastian said they both awoke sometime around midnight. He said Mrs Bethel subsequently expressed her desire to take a bath, and so he directed her to a guest bathroom. He said after she showered, she started rubbing on him. Then, he said “it happened”.

“There was no force, no reluctance, no threat. We had sex. She said ‘come in the bed and me.’ That’s what she said,” Mr Bastian’s statement said. He further expressed that at no time between December 15 or 16 did Mrs Bethel express that she was uncomfortable.

The following day, Mr Bastian said Mrs Bethel asked him about a replacement for her residential spousal permit. He said he ultimately took her to the Grove Police Station on the matter, where a police officer told Mrs Bethel she would have to return at a later date. Mr Bastian said at that point, Mrs Bethel “had an opportunity to report me for rape” but said she didn’t.

Afterwards, he said he drove her home, but while doing so, told her she needed to “resort to a better way of life.”

“You need to look for a way to support your children,” he said her told her, according to his statement. “I said you need to find a steady boyfriend. She said ‘yes, that’s what I want to do.’”

Mr Bastian said the whole ordeal made him realise Mrs Bethel had an “ulterior motive”. Mr Bastian also claimed at the time that he believed she was being “coached” to tarnish his reputation.

The matter continues today.

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