A vacationing medical student from Massachusetts was raped by an ex-policeman in an apartment building in San Juan’s Condado neighborhood, Puerto Rican authorities said Monday.
The Puerto Rico Police Department said that William Rodriguez, who had been fired for corruption and was working as a security guard in the building, committed the assault in the wee hours of Saturday.
The news caused particular disquiet among the authorities because it occurred in the area where most U.S. tourists go when visiting the island, and because it happened little more than a week after another American woman suffered a beating on the small island of Vieques.
The name of the victim in the latest case is being withheld and the press described her as a 21-year-old med student.
The chief of the San Juan police district, Maj. Orlando Rivera, said that the alleged rape occurred on the rooftop of the building where Rodriguez was employed.
Rodriguez was unable to post bail, set at $500,000, and was remanded to a jail in the San Juan suburb of Bayamon.
The director of the state tourism agency, Luis Rivera Marin, acknowledged the authorities’ concern after the violent attack suffered by an American woman on the small island of Vieques, one of Puerto Rico’s top tourist attractions.
That woman, a 29-year-old from Baltimore, was beaten brutally on Vieques’ Coconut Beach.
Police never determined whether the woman was raped after one of her friends found her thrown on the sand, naked from the waist down and stunned by a powerful blow to the head.
Rivera said that tourism is an economic sector that in Puerto Rico employs more than 17,000 people and produces some $3 billion in revenues per year, 7 percent of the island’s economy.
He said that to prevent further incidents that damage the island’s image, a new security plan will be launched to step up police surveillance on Vieques and the rest of Puerto Rico.