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 north end of Westin property 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 tomorrow.
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.
‘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 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 for $1.1 million in 2008 after years of legal wrangling.
According to claims made in the lawsuit filings, the victim was walking back to her hotel lodging late at night when an unknown man stopped twice to offer her a ride. She declined. When she was approached a third time, she fled across the Westin resort property and stopped to use a public restroom in the resort’s ballroom and spa building.
That building was not attached to the main hotel and was closed at the time the victim entered, according to court records.
While the victim was in the bathroom stall, court records state that a man entered, shut off the light, punched through the stall door and held a knife to the victim while he committed the rape.
Phone calls to Mr. Itzkowitz had not been returned at press time. However, the Boston attorney has spoken with the Caymanian Compass numerous times about the rape case and has previously discussed details of the 2005 lawsuit.
The victim, who is not being identified by the Compass, was said to be emotionally devastated by the incident and was unable to continue to work in the US. Mr. Itzkowitz has said she was also diagnosed with internal injuries as a result of the rape.