FBI’s St. John Hate Crime Report Will Not Be Released to Public

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Despite pressure from V.I. officials and a public letter-writing campaign, it is not likely the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) ever will release the findings of its investigation into hate crimes on St. John, according to a DOJ spokesperson.

The one-year anniversary of the alleged rape of a black woman by masked white men, which prompted a string of sit-ins, protests and arsons in Love City, came and went with no word on the FBI’s investigation into the alleged hate crime.

Rumors were rampant across St. John that the Department of Justice would release a report on its findings in the FBI’s investigation on Wednesday, August 30 — the one year anniversary of the alleged kidnapping and rape of East End resident Esther Frett by masked white men.

No Report Will Be Issued
“The Justice Department’s investigation into this is still pending,” DOJ spokesperson Cynthia Magnuson said Monday, Aug. 28. “There will be no report issued. However, there will be a press release when the investigation is completed stating whether we are closing the case or prosecuting anyone.”

As the one year anniversary of the alleged hate crime approached, Senator-at-Large Craig Barsh-inger and Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen both urged residents to participate in letter-writing campaigns to encourage the Department of Justice to release its findings to provide closure to the people of St. John.

“It has been almost a year since the reported rape of a St. John woman and the alleged hate crimes that have torn our community apart, and no closure has been brought to this matter,” said Barshinger in a press release. “I understand and share the outrage St. Johnians feel at the deafening silence from the FBI and Department of Justice as it relates to this situation. The Department of Justice owes the people of St. John the report.”

St. John residents have patiently awaited the Department’s findings, according to Christensen, who has met with Department of Justice officials in an effort to bring closure to the case.

“More Than Patient”
“As we approach the one year anniversary of the rape, I think that the St. John community and the Virgin Islands at-large have been more than patient as they waited for the result of this investigation,” said Christensen. “I have been part of a group made up mostly of St. John clergy which has met regularly following the incident. At times, we met with U.S. Justice Department officials and have urged closure in this investigation.”

Delegate Says Results Promised
The St. John community has been promised results by the FBI and the Department of Justice several times within the last year, Christensen said. “The community and our group have been promised a report on more than one occasion and many deadlines have come and gone,” said Christensen.

“If the investigation is complete, then the community and the alleged victim have a right to know,” the Delegate added. “If it is not complete, then we have the right to know what the status is today and if there is a hold-up, what it is.”

Individuals interested in joining the letter writing campaign seeking a resolution in this case can write to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, at the U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-2000 or email his Chief of Staff at kyle.sampsom@usdoj.gov.