Jamaican resorts have a disturbing history of offering cash and confidentiality agreements to silence sexual assault victims, according to a stunning new investigation that found one victim was even told to “go home and forget about it.”
A slew of victims have come forward claiming vacation hotspots on the Caribbean island including Sandals have also bullied them into not reporting the alleged incidents to police, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The series of sickening claims comes on the heels of an exclusive New York Post report about a $30 million lawsuit filed by New Jersey newlyweds Ashley Reid and Jeffrey Pascarella. The couple claims Reid was sexually assaulted by a butler during a trip for their wedding in 2016.
In one newly revealed case, an 18-year-old au pair from South Africa said she was drugged and raped while staying with a host family at Sandals in Jamaica.
The American host family accepted a $25,000 payment from Sandals as a refund for the trip — in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement barring them from speaking about the incident.
But the victim, who was left with scratch marks and bruises on her neck, never signed anything.
“Why are you bribing people to keep quiet?” the woman told the Free Press. “I feel like they allowed this to happen because they let someone get away with it. They cover their backs so quickly that they don’t actually help the victim.”
The teen underwent a rape kit at the hospital, where “the doctor said something definitely happened,” she said.
Afterward, she went to the police station to report what had happened but got a nasty reaction.
“The policewoman said to me, ‘Were you not warned about the culture here?’ ” she recalled.
The cop continued to chide her, saying, “These things happen here. … Next time, don’t have so many drinks.”
Sandals declined to comment on the au pair’s allegations but posted a statement on TripAdvisor.
“In this case, local law enforcement conducted an investigation and reviewed the Beaches Resort’s surveillance video footage which was immediately provided,” the statement said. “Local law enforcement subsequently issued statements, in which they explained that ‘We have collected statements and reviewed video evidence none of which supports the claim of rape.’ The toxicology report has not revealed anything of note and the theory of her being drugged is not sustainable.”
Sandals isn’t the only vacation destination where tourists claim they’ve been sexually assaulted.
Ivy, a mom from Atlanta, said she was groped by an employee at the Sunscape Splash resort in Montego Bay during an October trip for her 50th birthday.
She was in the water with the worker when he began fondling her genitals, which she promptly reported to security.
The general manager told Ivy she could move to a different resort — but would have to pay the difference in price. Flabbergasted, she then went to a vacation representative, who told her, “Do you want to call police, or would you rather go home and forget about it?”
The rep also urged her to “try to have a good time. Don’t let it ruin your vacation. Try to make the best of it.”
Meanwhile, the head of security at the resort pressured Ivy into not pressing charges by telling her the legal process was expensive and lengthy.
So she never did.
Ivy said the gated resorts — which are marketed as luxurious and relaxing — are “a facade.”
“You feel like you’re safe in there … but you’re not,” she said. “There was no compassion.”
Sunscape Splash didn’t return the Free Press’ request for comment.
But on TripAdvisor, a rep responded to Ivy’s negative review, saying, “The safety of our guests is always our top priority. Please reach out … for me to better address your specific concerns.”
A Kansas City woman recalled her 2017 sexual assault by a Sandals Ochi Beach Resort employee during a sailing excursion. She decided to speak out — despite signing a nondisclosure agreement.
“You have beautiful lips,” the worker told her as he continued farther out into the water, the woman recalled. At one point, he put his hands on her private parts and threw himself on top of her.
The victim reported the assault to Sandals — but the resort never bothered calling police. Instead, she was offered a $4,500 trip in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement.
“It was so fast — and they didn’t give me time to think about anything,” the woman said. “I said, ‘Do I need to make a police report?’ They said, ‘No. You don’t need to do that. We’ll take care of everything.’”