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St. John Rape Sparks Anger, Sadness, Calls for Justice

Aug. 30, 2005 – The news that a St. John woman was kidnapped, raped and assaulted Tuesday on the island's East End spread like wildfire around the territory. It was reported on the St. John police blotter at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday as a first-degree rape.
Delegate Donna M. Christensen promised she would have federal and local law enforcement officers attend a public meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Legislature to hear the community's concerns about the incident.
Speakers at a meeting Tuesday to discuss V.I. Water and Power Authority issues alleged that the assault was racially motivated.
"A lot of people that come here incorporate themselves into the Virgin Islands, but a lot of people don't," Bosede Bruce said.
Bruce interrupted WAPA director Alberto Bruno-Vega as he talked about WAPA issues to say that she couldn't focus on his remarks because she was upset at the day's event. "This is my worst nightmare," she said.
Monique Matthias said that she was so angry that if she was asked to do something evil as a result of this incident, she would.
Alecia Wells said people should remember St. John's 1733 slave rebellion and the 1972 murders at Fountain Valley on St. Croix. "And most of America's Most Wanted are in Coral Bay," she said.
Few factual details are known about the case because Deputy Police Chief Angelo Hill said he couldn't provide them. "We're investigating it right now," he said.
However, numerous people provided their version of the events at the WAPA meeting. None of those allegations can be substantiated because the police aren't talking. The victim's husband, reached by phone, said the victim was not up to discussing the incident. He suggested that her name not be used until she was able to speak for herself.
Sen. Liston Davis sent out a press release about the matter.
"The lady was today viciously raped, gagged and her battered body thrown into the sea. Undoubtedly, the person or persons who committed this dastardly deed took her for dead. Thank God, the lady lived to tell the tale," he said in his press release.
A press release from the Police Department said the victim was treated at Myra Keating Smith Community Health Center for numerous bruises and injuries.
Gov. Charles Turnbull, in a news release, promised that a full-fledged investigation would take place.
"Let me assure the people of the Virgin Islands that all of the law enforcement resources of the local and federal government will be used to bring the perpetrators to justice," the governor said.
Barshinger, Sen. Roosevelt David, Louis Sylvester of Davis' office and Basil Ottley of Sen. Louis Hill's office attended the WAPA meeting. Sen. Celestino White had been at the Legislature building before the meeting.
White announced Tuesday at a Senate session that there had been a racial incident on St. John involving a local woman who had been raped, bound, gagged, and thrown into the ocean. Except for Barshinger, the senators and staff left as soon as the discussion on the incident was over. White was already gone.
David said that he and the victim were long-time friends. His wife, Ileta, stood up to say she went to Myrah Keating Smith clinic to give her a hug.
"She said, 'Please stay with me because I'm scared.' She was very upset about it," Ileta David said.

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