By Merab-Michal Favorite, Islander Reporter
Two cases of sexual battery were investigated in Holmes Beach in 2013 and, while no arrests have been made, the Holmes Beach Police Department is pursuing warrants for both suspects.
The incident reports were made available Feb. 20 from the HBPD, after being noted among the annual Crime in Florida report provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement based on data through Jan. 21, which was released Feb. 19 by Holmes Beach Chief of Police Bill Tokajer.
The first incident occurred July 5, 2013, at West Manatee Fire District Station No. 1, 6001 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.
The second alleged rape took place Dec. 22, 2013, on the beach in the 5600 block of Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, according to HBPD reports, which were only made public Feb. 20.
Rape by co-worker
The first of two female victims in the reports told police that while on duty overnight at the fire station, her co-worker raped her.
The victim, an EMS medic, filed a report with the Manatee County Human Resources Department Aug. 14, 2013. She said the suspect entered her bunk while she was trying to sleep and raped her while choking her.
According to the report, she and the Bradenton man were running calls until around 1 a.m., when she tried to go to sleep and was sexually battered. The two had not previously worked together.
The victim told police that throughout the day they had been joking about things of a sexual nature. The victim told police she was not offended until the man began showing her nude pictures of himself on his cellphone.
In one of the pictures, she alleged, the man held a mouthwash bottle over his genitals.
She said she tried to ignore him, but he proceeded to show another more explicit photo.
The man allegedly made several other sexual advances and the woman told him sexual behavior “was not going to happen,” the report said.
The victim said she got very uncomfortable and tried to avoid the man the rest of the evening, hanging out on the opposite side of the fire station until it was time to sleep. She was in her bunk when he reportedly got up, closed the door and climbed in bed with her. That’s when he allegedly held her so she couldn’t move, started choking and sexually assaulted her.
The victim did not immediately report the incident, telling police “it was her word against his,” the report states, but after confiding in a friend, she filed a complaint.
According to Pat Labarr of the Manatee County Human Resources Department, the suspect was dismissed in September following the incident with a stipulation that he cannot be rehired for three years.
HBPD Chief Bill Tokajer said the department has submitted evidence to the state attorney’s office and is waiting for the approval of an arrest warrant for the suspect.
The second account of sexual battery Dec. 22, 2013, involved a tourist and a man who worked at the time as a waiter for the Gulf Drive Cafe in Bradenton Beach, the report stated.
According to the report, the victim alleged that the man raped her on the beach after a night of barhopping with friends.
The victim told police she was out with her brother and another brother and sister they met that night. The foursome had been to several bars including two on Bridge Street and to D.Coy Ducks Tavern in Holmes Beach, the report said.
While at the tavern, the victim’s brother and the suspect’s sister were kissing, the report said. The victim said she had been getting along with the suspect, and they walked to the beach.
According to the victim’s sworn statement to HBPD officers, “before she knew what was happening, (the suspect) was allegedly on top of her trying to (have sex) with her.” She told police he held her hands down at her sides and forcibly had sex with her, the report said.
The victim reported the incident immediately, but did not know the suspect’s last name or exact location where the rape occurred, but she remembered him saying he was a waiter at a local restaurant, the report said.
The victim gave police officers a picture she had taken of the suspect on her cellphone and HBPD tracked the picture to a server at Gulf Drive Cafe, the report stated. He was questioned by police in the manager’s office.
The suspect allegedly stated that he and the victim had “really hit it off” and were making out on a bench outside D.Coy Ducks before deciding go have sex on the beach. He said the sex was mutual and afterward he walked her to her vacation home, but not all the way, the report stated.
The man said the woman did not have a local phone number so he told her to come by where he works, hoping to see her again.
HBPD found probable cause to arrest the suspect after it obtained a text from the victim on the suspect’s phone stating she made it home OK, but that she was not OK with what had happened.
The time of the text was 4:23 a.m.
Tokajer said the department submitted evidence to the state attorney’s office and is awaiting an arrest warrant, saying the long process follows standard protocol when dealing with sexual battery charges.