I knew it would be just a matter of time before someone I knew would appear on my blog. I determined that no matter who it was, there would be no mercy from me. Let that be a warning to anyone who knows me.
A Toronto-area woman says she is going public to warn travellers, after a security guard at a Dominican Republic resort raped her and the hotel "did nothing" to investigate — an occurrence she believes is all too common.
Christine Dayman, 44, and her family were staying at the Grand Bahia Principe Turquesa resort in Punta Cana two months ago.
It was the third time the music teacher had travelled to the all-inclusive Dominican resort with her two sons and her aging parents.
"I have never had any notion of lack of safety," she says. "It's guarded. It's gated. It feels completely safe."
Instead, she says, he shoved her against a wall at the top of a stairwell, lifted her dress and forced himself on her.
"He pounced on me," says Dayman. "I was in such shock ... I couldn't process what was going on. I was completely stunned, and I froze."
'No one called the police'
After the security guard ran off, Dayman says she ran to her room and called a friend back in Toronto, in hysterics. The friend suggested Dayman report the attack at the front desk early the next morning — when she felt it was safe to leave her room.
"They sat me in the middle of the lobby and I filled out a measly incident form," says Dayman.
"No one called the police. No one offered to show me pictures to identify the security guard. I wasn't offered medical attention ... The only thing they offered me was late checkout."
Dayman and her family returned to Toronto later that day as scheduled.
Once home, Dayman immediately saw a physician, filed a report with Durham Regional Police, and then posted a notice on Trip Advisor — an American travel and restaurant review website — to warn other women about her experience.
"There's a predator still there," says Dayman. "I have to speak out because it's a matter of public safety. They [the hotel] did nothing."
Hotel changes how complaints handled
After Dayman filled out a complaint form at the Grand Bahia Principe Resort, she followed up with several emails, asking the hotel to acknowledge the report she filed.
"I just got a very curt standard response back saying, 'Would you please give us more time to look into it?' Then I sent a similar email a few days later, and got a response that said, 'Please be advised this has been escalated to the tour operator and we have nothing to do with it anymore.' So they were telling me not to be communicating with them further."
Dayman is most concerned about how hotel staff appeared to downplay what she says happened.
In emails between the hotel chain and the tour operator, the hotel says Dayman "refused medical attention and the involvement of authorities." It also says Dayman "was unable to identify the aggressor."
Dayman disputes those claims.
"I was never offered medical help, nor was it ever suggested that the police be contacted," she says. "I could have identified him."
After Go Public contacted the resort, it sent a statement saying it takes "any allegations of misconduct very seriously" and that it is updating its protocols so that guests will automatically be given medical support and hotel staff will offer to call police.
The email also said the hotel is revising its hiring policy, to include more thorough background checks of potential employees and increase the number of references required.
Others claim chain dismissed sex assaults
Go Public has found other complaints on Trip Advisor written by Canadian women who say they, too, were sexually assaulted by employees at resorts run by Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts.
We reached out to one of the women who posted about her experience at a Jamaican property, and she agreed to speak to us on condition of anonymity.
She stayed at the hotel chain's resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, in August 2016 and says a member of the hotel's entertainment staff sexually assaulted her and the resort did not offer to contact police.
The woman says the hotel's security team told her that other guests had reported being sexually assaulted by the same employee.
The hotel chain told Go Public that that employee is no longer employed at the resort.
Its statement says it "does not tolerate any forms of inappropriate behaviour" and that sexual assault by hotel employees "is unequivocally unacceptable and not in line with our company's ethics."
Trip Advisor flags risky resorts
So many women are speaking out about sexual assault by resort employees in numerous countries, Trip Advisor announced last fall that it would flag hotels where assaults have been reported.
That decision came after the review site came under fire for repeatedly deleting the reviews of women who reported being sexually assaulted at resorts in the Playa del Carmen region of Mexico.
In an email to Go Public, senior director of corporate communications Brian Hoyt wrote that Trip Advisor posts a notification about a resort "when a recent health, safety or discrimination issue comes to our attention via multiple, reputable media sources."
He would not say how many resorts are currently flagged, and wrote that Trip Advisor would not post a notice about the Grand Bahia Principe Turquesa as there are already a number of reviews posted [citing concerns] "And those reviews have received a number of helpful votes from other users."
Tour operators urged to step in
Toronto lawyer Loretta Merritt, who has specialized in the civil litigation of sexual assault cases for three decades, estimates that her office has heard from about half a dozen women in the past 18 months who say they were sexually assaulted at a resort destination — most often by a hotel employee.
"It's difficult to know how widespread it is," says Merritt, "because so many women do not report when they are sexually assaulted."
Resorts that aren't taking steps to protect travellers' safety, says Merritt, should lose the business of major tour operators.
"They [tour operators] are in a pretty powerful position," says Merritt. "They choose what hotels they operate in. They can say, 'If you don't do anything, we won't sell to you.'"
Transat Holidays responds
After Dayman contacted the tour operator that booked her flight and hotel — Transat Holidays — to report the sexual assault, Transat emailed an apology, saying "Such events, though extremely rare, are most deplorable."
In an email to Go Public, Transat spokesperson Debbie Cabana wrote that the company takes the allegations "very seriously" and that Transat has contacted the hotel "in order to obtain all pertinent information related to this complaint."
Ottawa gets involved
Dayman also reported the alleged rape to her MP, which prompted Global Affairs Canada to get involved.
Dayman says a consular case officer has contacted the Punta Cana resort to ask about security cameras and other measures in place to protect travellers' safety, and has also reached out to Transat Holidays.
In an email to Go Public, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada wrote, "Our heart goes out to her [Dayman]" and pointed to a travel advisory the government has issued for women travelling to the Dominican Republic, which says it has received reports of "assault, rape and sexual aggression against foreigners" and that in some cases, "hotel employees have been implicated."
After Dayman's complaint to Durham Regional Police was sent to authorities in the Dominican Republic, local police assigned an investigator, but Dayman has been told her case won't move forward unless she returns to the Caribbean country.
Hope speaking out helps healing
The women Go Public spoke to, who say they were sexually assaulted by resort employees, say they're not optimistic about getting justice.
They hope warning other women will help them cope with what happened — and prevent other female travellers from being harmed.
"If that security guard is still there — and I'm assuming he is and he's doing the same thing to other women — am I OK with that, when I could've spoken out?" asks Dayman. "No. I'm not OK with that."
Perhaps it would be better to report a rape directly to police rather than to the resort. Does anyone have any helpful advice to such victims or rape or sex assault in resorts?
An Australian court in June will sentence the 67-year-old archbishop, who faces up to two years in prison.
Wilson is the most senior Catholic figure to be convicted in connection with sex abuse in the church. Prosecutors said he covered up abuse by priest James Fletcher after he was told about it in 1976 while he worked as an assistant parish priest in New South Wales.
Fletcher was convicted in 2004 on nine counts of child sexual abuse. He died in prison.
Wilson's lawyers had argued he did not know Fletcher abused a boy. The archbishop said said no one has ever reported allegations of child sex abuse to him.
Magistrate Robert Stone said he didn't accept that Wilson couldn't remember a conversation with the 15-year-old victim about the abuse.
Wilson said he was "obviously disappointed" and would consult with his lawyers to decide next steps.
Abuse survivor Peter Gogarty spoke outside the court, saying the verdict was "one of the most significant days in criminal law in Australian history."
"I think this will now open the doors for other jurisdictions to start looking at trying to prosecute people who deliberately looked after their institution and, literally, threw children to the wolves," Gogarty said.
"On behalf of all of the victims, who have been abused in this country and elsewhere, I just want to say what an enormous relief it is that the people who let this happen are finally being brought to account."
Last week, all 34 of the Roman Catholic Church's bishops in Chile submitted their resignations over sex abuse cases.
Way to go, Mr Gogarty, God bless you for seeing this through.
A retired teacher accused of sexually abusing a pupil at a Hull school more than 40 years has denied any wrongdoing, and told a jury: "That is just not true."
As the the father-of-three gave evidence on Tuesday, Bernard Gateshill, defending, said: "You know, in this case, Mr Fewings, that the lady, formerly [complainant's maiden name], alleges that on certain occasions in that classroom, you, when she was on her own, you indecently assaulted her."
"That is just not true," said Mr Fewings.
Mr Gateshill asked: "Did anything untoward that you can recall happen in that classroom between you and her, forty-odd years ago?"
"No, not at all," said Mr Fewings.
Mr Gateshill said: "You know that she also alleges, as against you, that on three occasions you gave her a lift home. Did you ever give her a lift home?" Mr Fewings replied: "No, not at all. That is not true either."
Earlier, in response to a question from the jury about the length of his hair at the time, the former RE teacher produced two family photographs that were handed around court.
These were of him and his first wife on their wedding day in the early 1970s, and a second showing Mr Fewings with his mother and younger brother.
Mr Fewings also told the court about his academic and professional background, and said he had done a degree in philosophy and theology at Hull University and then went straight into teaching.
'Studied to enhance faith'
Asked by Mr Gateshill if theology had been a particular interest, Mr Fewings said: "I was a Christian and obviously thought I could enhance my knowledge of my faith."
His first teaching job had been at Sir Henry Cooper School, and he had then worked at David Lister before becoming head of the RE department at Wolfreton School.
Mr Fewings later worked in adult education, teacher training, and also ran his own company, Brain Box, while also teaching part-time at Bishop Burton College. He retired aged 65.
Mr Gateshill asked him: "In all your years of teaching, either in schools or adult education, or self-employment, did you ever receive any complaint about your conduct?"
"No," said Mr Fewings.
The court also heard from the complainant's husband, who recalled her "confronting" her former teacher after a "chance meeting" at a concert.
The woman later told police in interview she told Mr Fewings: "You f****** ruined my life. Get ready for a knock on the door because one might be coming."
'Like she'd seen a ghost'
Charlotte Baines, prosecuting, asked the husband: "When [she] returned to you, how was she?"
He said: "Distraught. Like she'd seen a ghost. He's dominated her all her life, and there he was 40 years later, six inches off her face. She was crying, could hardly breathe, just distressed. She's just come from the person that had abused her."
The trial continues.
The woman, now in her 20s, alleges she was sexually assaulted twice by takeaway driver Khurram Javed in 2008.
Giving evidence at Sheffield Crown Court she said claims she had lied about the abuse were "totally untrue".
Mr Javed, 35, of Clifton Crescent, in Rotherham, denies the charges.
The woman, who cannot be named due to the nature of the allegations, said she was aged between 12 and 13 when she was assaulted by Mr Javed.
She said he sexually abused her an alleyway at the side of the Sizzling Wok takeaway in Bardsley Moor Road, in Rotherham.
The court heard she had also been involved in a previous investigation into alleged sexual abuse in 2008 and had received compensation as a result.
Asked why she had not made a claim against Mr Javed at the time she said: "Because I was blocking a lot of it out."
The court also heard she had attended English Defence League (EDL) speeches about "Muslim grooming", although she said she had not been involved with the far-right group for more than a year.
Addressing the witness, Mr Cassidy said: "I'm suggesting that in this particular case you have not told the truth about what happened in 2008.
"And that your account is made up in part to gain further compensation and in part to carry on the campaign in relation to Muslims."
Mr Javed denies two counts of sexual assault in relation to the alleged incident.
He also denies a further charge of sexual assault and one count of rape relating to a second complainant.
The trial continues
It followed a similar operation last year aimed at cracking down on the use of hotels to sexually abuse children.
He explained: “We’ve had a couple of really big child sexual exploitation (CSE) operations in Calderdale to reassure the public we’re taking positive action to deal with the issue, both with victims coming forward and arresting the perpetrators.
“In 2014/15 we delivered CSE training to hotels in Calderdale, and did taxi training.
“This led to the CSE hub leading a multi-agency test purchase operation on May 12, 2017. We had an officer in his 30s and a young girl, aged 14, trying to book into the hotels. Both were white, and we wanted to test the hotels to see if they would ring alarm bells.
“The response wasn’t as we would have wanted, so we gave feedback to the hotels.
“Ten months later, we’ve re-done it and used two Asian officers in their 30s and two 14-year-old white police cadets.
“Only one of the hotels raised a concern, so we had a meeting with hotel managers last week because that isn’t acceptable.”
There will be another operation within the next 12 months, and the hotels have been warned they must do better or risk being named and shamed.
Det Chief Insp Shaw said hotel managers had taken the message on board at their meeting last week. He said: “They all want to work with us to make sure they get it right.”
He added: “One of the issues raised was staff turnover. The hotels said ‘we’re doing training, but new people are coming in all the time who aren’t trained’. So we offered to put training on, so when we do a third operation, hopefully we have different results.”
Julie Jenkins, assistant director for children’s safeguarding at Calderdale Council , said: “We are taking this really seriously. We’ve made it clear that this is a crime.
“A lot of it came down to the confidence of the staff on reception, who are often on their own, and some of them are students who haven’t been trained. So we’ve agreed to work with them on a check-list. They don’t have to tackle someone there and then, they could let them go to their room and ring 999.
“Whoever rings will get an immediate response, but we want them to spot the signs. Just be curious and call it in if you’re suspicious.”