Alberta woman says she was sexually assaulted at Punta Cana resort by 2 employees
CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report by CTV Calgary's Kathy Le
Published Friday, January 11, 2019 8:43AM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 11, 2019 2:15PM EST
An Alberta woman says she was sexually assaulted by two staff members at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic and the hotel offered to reimburse her stay in exchange for her silence.
The 29-year-old woman, whose identity is being withheld to protect her privacy, stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace in Punta Cana for a family wedding in late November. On the second night of her visit, she said she was drinking with family and friends and needed help getting back to her own room.
The woman, from Airdrie, Alta., said she asked a security guard to assist her to her room. She said the next thing she remembered is the security guard and another uniformed staff member sexually assaulting her in her room.
“I was in bed and there was the two guys in front of me and foul play was already happening. I was saying ‘No,’ but at that point I fell back asleep,” she told CTV Calgary on Thursday. “[I] woke back up again and it was the other man who was on top of me.”
“I was really helpless. I couldn’t do anything.”
The next morning, the woman said she woke up and the two men were gone. She said she reported the assault to police and later testified in court.
The resort’s head of security took the woman to the police station to file the report and aid in the investigation.
Global Affairs Canada confirmed to CTV Calgary that it was aware of the case.
“We are aware and deeply concerned with the reports of a sexual assault on a Canadian citizen in the Dominican Republic… Consular services continue to be provided to the Canadian,” the department said in a statement.
In an email to the woman, Global Affairs Canada said the suspects are in prison awaiting trial in the Dominican Republic.
After the suspects were arrested, the woman’s uncle said she was taken to the resort’s security office and offered reimbursement for her five-day stay in exchange for her silence.
“Because they caught the guys, they thought I would feel better. But, I don’t. Not at all,” she said. “To me, they think that just getting the guys in jail is enough justice but to me, it’s not.”
The woman and her uncle said they refused to sign the hotel’s non-disclosure agreement, which would clear the resort of any responsibility in the incident.
“They just lost my trust,” the woman’s uncle said. “If you’re not guilty of something, why are we having to sign this piece of paper?”
When contacted by CTV Calgary, the resort responded by issuing a statement.
“We are not able to provide answers to queries about specific guests. We take guest safety and privacy seriously, and do not comment publicly about individual visitors,” it read.
The woman said the ordeal has changed her life and her perspective on travelling.
“It ruined me travelling. I love travelling. My family travels all the time,” she said. “I’m scared and I’m traumatized. I have to live with this for the rest of my life.”
The woman’s family said they’re planning to hire a lawyer to pursue a civil lawsuit against the hotel.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.