Victim disappointed with San Pedro Police response to sexual assault report
Friday, December 22nd, 2017
A young American female tourist claims to have been sexually assaulted on Sunday, December 17th, while biking in northern Ambergris Caye. The victim claims that a Hispanic man on a three-wheeler motorcycle approached her on a feeder road as she and a friend were heading towards the beach and forcibly groped her genitals. After the ordeal and with the help of a local family that happened to be around the area at the time, the police were called and following a report at the police station, the alleged perpetrator was detained. However, the person has not been charged and police say the matter is pending a thorough investigation.
The victim, who wishes to stay anonymous, told The Sun that she arrived in San Pedro Town on Saturday, December 16th for a week stay. The following day in the morning, she and another friend decided to go biking north of town looking to explore the northern part of the island. According to her they observed a narrow pathway to the east and decided to traverse it hoping it led to the beach.
According to the victim, she heard the noise of an engine. Apparently, there was a man on a three-wheeler motorcycle next to her friend who was several feet behind her, trying to pick up a conversation. She said cycle then moved towards her direction and because the pathway seemed narrow, she jumped off her bicycle and moved to the side of the narrow road to give way. However, the man, which she described as a short, chubby, brown skin and Hispanic/Mestizo looking tried to start a conversation with her. “He told me that there was not much to see out there, but that he could give me a ride and show me what’s out there if I wanted to, but I said no, I like biking so I am ok,” she said. “At that moment my friend said let’s turn back, but the cycle was in the way giving me little room to maneuver. So, then I saw him getting off his cycle and said let me help you with that and I said no, stay where you are I am fine. But he did not stop him from advancing and approached me putting his hand in between my crotch and squeezed. At that point, I froze a little bit, but I found the courage to say no you cannot do that to me, and yelled call the police to my friend.”
Her friend reportedly fled the scene to look for help, while she struggled with the man for a couple seconds. “I took off my beach bag which had a very heavy water bottle in it and started to smack the guy. He then jumped back on his cycle and drove forward towards the beach. As soon as he left I got on my bike and rode towards the main road and stopped the first people I saw,” she continued. “There was a family of four in a golf cart and I told them that I had been assaulted and asked if I should report it to the police and they said yes. While we were in the process of calling the police my other friend showed up along with another family on a golf cart. Then the guy came up pulling out from the pathway and we told them that he was the guy.” She further stated that the people that had stopped to assist them were able to recognize the alleged perpetrator who just drove away back to town.
The victim says that she was finally able to speak to the police and made a report, but the process of the investigation has been very frustrating. After she was notified on Monday, December 18th that he had been detained, the young lady stated that she was asked to identify the person. “They put me inside of a car and told me that I was to ID this person at the Central Park. We drove to the park and there was only one person facing the street and it was not him,” she said. She questions the method used since the detainee was supposed to be at the police station and not at the park. According to her, she was informed that the accused had the right not to do a lineup and the police had to do this other method.
The young tourist is scheduled to leave on Friday, December 22nd, she believes that the reason for, what she calls a farcical ID procedure, is to let him go as soon as she leaves. The San Pedro Sun reached out to the police officer in charge of the case who was limited in saying that the incident is under investigation and that the person remained in custody. But up to press time, the accused person has not been charged and the police could not confirm if he was still detained.
“I am willing to come back and testify if necessary, but I doubt that this case would ever go to trial,” she ended. “I am not just thinking about me, but about the girls that may have been assaulted by this guy and the others that may be in danger by having these type of persons out on the streets.”
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