- Written by Tom Oat
ST. JOHN — Troublesome behavior and discomfiting incidents became a sordid crime with serious repercussions and irreparable damage when a young woman summer resort worker reported being sexually assaulted by a man who has been repeatedly accused of harassing and accosting visitors to the isolated Salt Pond area of the Virgin Islands National Park.
The V.I. Police Department reported on August 14 that “suspect” Jaydee Brathwaite, 28, of Mandahl, had been apprehended on a charge of First Degree rape by detectives with the Criminal Investigations Bureau, St. John, who had responded to the report of a rape victim at the Myrah Keating Clinic on August 13, around 12:30 p.m.
The assault on the teenage female summer employee during an early morning hike on the last day of her summer work program at the resort left the young woman “very traumatized,” according to a St. John Tradewinds source. The resort overlooks the popular tourist attraction of the bright white sand of Salt Pond Bay and the renowned salt pond on the heavily used trail to Drunk Bay and neighboring Ram Head.
“According to the victim of the assault, she was taking a morning walk in the area of Ram’s Head by Salt Pond, when an African-American male suddenly appeared from bushes, forced the victim to the ground and proceeded to sexually assault her,” the official VIPD press release read.
“Once the victim was able to get away, she made contact with friends employed at the resort where she was staying and they immediately took the victim to the Myrah Keating Smith Clinic,” the VIPD report continued.
The young woman victim had been able to photograph her attacker with her cell phone after the attack, which helped the authorities identify and apprehend Brathwaite, according to a St. John Tradewinds source.
The August 13 incident came after years of complaints from residents and visitors about a man stalking and harassing women and children in the isolated, southeastern-most section of the VINP. VINP officials cited the continued shortage of law enforcement rangers on staff at the underfunded NPS outpost which has operated with only to two rangers in the entire park in recent years before a third ranger recently joined the short staff.