Charges filed in 2002 rape

A man has been charged in the 2002 rape of a female tourist in a bathroom on the Westin Casuarina Resort property.

The sexual assault happened in a side building at the Westin in May 2002, according to Royal Cayman Islands Police investigators and a US lawyer who represented the rape victim in a civil lawsuit which was settled last year.

Thirty-three year-old Christopher Omar Samuels, a Jamaican national who resides in Cayman, was arrested on 5 January and appeared in court to face rape charges Thursday. He’s due back in court on 3 February.

RCIPS Superintendent Marlon Bodden said new DNA evidence had become available in the case recently, which led to Mr. Samuels’ arrest. Investigators had never made any arrests in connection with the case prior to 5 January and had never identified Mr. Samuels as a suspect.

According to officers, Mr. Samuels did work for the hotel at one time, but he does not do so now.

‘Major crimes like murders, rapes, serious assaults, are never closed,’ Mr. Bodden said. ‘We have always been seen as a police service that doesn’t pay attention to the old cases, but that’s not the case.’

‘I can say how happy the victim was that an arrest was made, I have spoken to her personally,’ he added.

The victim, who is from the US, was on a visit to the Cayman Islands when she was attacked. Although no charges were ever filed in the case prior to this month, the victim’s attorney, Mark Itzkowitz of Boston, did file a lawsuit seeking damages against the Columbia Sussex Corporation, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide in 2005.

The claims related to allegations of improper security at the Westin Resort in Grand Cayman and were settled in 2008 after years of legal wrangling.

Read more on this story in next week’s versions of the Caymanian Compass….