Dominican resort refutes assault allegations
The operators of the Caribbean resort at the centre of assault allegations made by two Thunder Bay women are speaking out.
Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts owns the resort outside the town of Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic, where two Thunder Bay women allege they were assaulted by hotel staff earlier this month.
CBC is not identifying the women because of the nature of the alleged crimes, and has not been able to corroborate their story.
Michael Price, the head of Bahia Principe's Canadian sales office in Toronto, said an internal investigation conducted by the hotel found no evidence of the events described by the two women.
"A very contradictory series of information has come back from the hotel, that unfortunately contradicts the ... disturbing allegations that have been made," said Price.
Price said the bartender whom the women allege broke into their room one night could not have done so, "because he was busy working.
"On questioning the bartender the next day, and the other staff, and other guests, it turned out that he hadn't left his post at all at that time," Price said.
Price said the second alleged incident, in which the women say a hotel security guard fired a gun at them, did not happen the way they say it did.
He said police investigated and found "no signs of any shots being fired," and no other guests had reported hearing gunshots.
"The only evidence of any disturbance was a bottle, which ... had been thrown onto the balcony," said Price.
'We're very sorry'
Both women have declined CBC's request for further comment in response to Price's remarks.
The Department of Foreign Affairs also turned down CBC's request for an interview.
The department's website, last updated in December, warns that "Unaccompanied female travellers [to the Dominican] ... should exercise caution in dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances ... Incidents of assault, rape and sexual aggression against foreigners have been reported, including at beach resorts. In some cases, hotel employees have been implicated."
Price said the San Juan-area hotel is ensuring its security policies and procedures are adequate. He said the company has received numerous inquiries as a result of recent media coverage, and it wants to reassure clients and tour operators that its hotels are safe.
"We think we have got it right, but you can never over-check," he said.
"Something, somewhere, seems to have gone wrong, which we're very sorry about ... however ... it would not appear to be as is being reported at the moment."