By Youri Kemp
Caribbean News Now associate editor
NASSAU, Bahamas — Multiple sexual assault allegations reported in US media are rocking Sandals Resorts International (SRI) – facetiously being re-branded by some observers as “Scandals” Resorts.
The new allegations come on the heels of Sandals’ mishandling and attempted cover-up of the norovirus outbreak at its Royal Bahamian Resort that saw hundreds of persons contracting a debilitating stomach flu; controversy over their business dealings involving “obscene levels” of concessions from various Caribbean governments that have led to international scrutiny and investigations; along with the firm’s persistent meddling in the internal political affairs and processes of some Caribbean countries.
Reports of a butler at the Sandals Royal Bahamian sexually assaulting a female guest in 2016 are now at the forefront of these long-standing sexual assault cases that have gone under- and/or unreported for some years across the Sandals brand.
Moral Adderley, the butler in question at the heart of the allegations at the Sandals Royal Bahamian, is alleged to have sexually assaulted Ashley Reid Pascarella during a pre-wedding vacation at the resort in 2016.
Pascarella filed a lawsuit against Sandals in the Supreme Court of the state of New York late in November. Adderley had already pleaded guilty to criminal assault charges in the Bahamian courts, and served time even though he claims his contact with Pascarella was innocent and non-sexual in nature and he pleaded guilty to the charges for reasons he said were personal to him and his family.
Pascarella is seeking a sum total of $30 million in damages from SRI, compared to the $15,000 compensation the couple was offered by SRI when the incident first took place, as a refund of the cost of their vacation, in addition to other compensatory benefits, provided they sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which they refused to do.
Meanwhile, mounting evidence of unabated sex crimes and sexual assaults at SRI properties around the Caribbean during the last five to seven years have now been reported by USA Today and the Detroit Free Press.
In July 2018, a South African family au pair was raped during her vacation with her host family at a Sandals Resort in Jamaica.
Sandals paid the family $25,000 to cover up the incident and asked the family to sign an NDA with the resort, which they family did but not the victim, who is now speaking out about her ordeal.
Also in July 2018, a 16-year-old girl vacationing in Negril, Jamaica, at SRI’s Beaches Resort said she was drugged by a bartender, choked and raped by an SRI guest.
The victim’s family also decided not to press charges and signed an NDA. They spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.
In September 2018, a Detroit woman was assaulted and raped at gunpoint by an attacker now in police custody over the incident.
A Kansas City woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a Sandals Ochi Beach Resort employee in October 2017 in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, during a sailing excursion. She stayed in her room for three days, but eventually reported him to the resort, which, she said, rushed her into signing an NDA in exchange for a $4,500 trip.
The reports continue dating back to 2014-2015, with similar tales of sexual assaults and brutal, all out rapes on SRI properties, with SRI’s management asking alleged victims to sign NDAs and also accept refunds of their vacation costs to keep their silence – with little or no apparent follow up on the alleged attackers or any police investigations.
The matter of Pascarella versus SRI has touched a nerve in the US media, as the couple has gone on various American outlets to outline their ordeal with SRI over the handling of their matter.
According to the couple’s lawyer, New York attorney John Nicholas Iannuzzi, in a statement to the Free Press said Sandals discouraged the couple from involving police and offered to refund the $15,000 vacation cost, but with a nondisclosure agreement. The couple declined and filed a lawsuit in Manhattan two years later after the incident.
“We were not interested in being silenced,” the 32-year-old then bride to be, Ashley Pascarella, told the Free Press. “It was a nominal amount of money compared to what had happened.”
The matter is now making its way through the New York court system.
SRI claims that it acted properly in this affair and denies knowledge of any of the other sexual assault and rape cases alleged to have happened on their properties.