|May 10, 2011|
|Atlantis Rape Case Women Tell Story|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|The two women who were allegedly raped by three Florida International University students Dec. 20 at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas say they each had at least three drinks at a bar and spent an hour in the adjoining rooms of the men after which they were ordered to leave and their belongings were thrown into the hall after them.|
The women, only described by their clothing (one with a “black dress” and the other with a “green top”), say they were roughed up and sexually assaulted as they lapsed into and out of consciousness after going to the rooms of the men at about 2 a.m., according to a story in the May 8 Miami Herald.
Free on bonds of $10,000 each are Garrett Wittels, star infielder of the FIU baseball team, who was 20 at the time of the incident, and two other FIU students, Robert Rothschild and Jonathan Oberti, both 21 at the time.
Garrett Wittels, center, at the news conference earlier this year.
A second hearing on the case has been scheduled for June 15 following the first hearing May 9. Penalties for rape in the Bahamas range from seven years to life in prison.
Felt Strange After Drink
Testimony of the woman in the black dress was that Wittels handed her and the woman in the green top drinks while they were at a craps table and that "About five or ten minutes after getting my drink, I started to feel bad. I was feeling dizzy and not having control of my body."
The green top woman said in a sworn statement that "While standing [at the craps table] I felt like I was losing control of my limbs."
Police said that blood tests the next day found alcohol, but no trace of a date rape drug. Medical authorities such drugs are metabolized quickly and may not show up if tests are conducted after a certain time.
The women, although describing themselves as 17 and below the legal drinking age of 18 in the Bahamas, said they each had at least three alcoholic drinks at the Dragon’s Ultra Lounge of the Atlantis.
The two women had cherry vodka sours followed by an apple martini, a Kahlua and cream, and “lemon drops,” a vodka drink.
Wittels, Rothschild and Oberti, who met the women at the bar, admit to having sex with them but say it was consensual.
Five used condoms were found in the room.
One of the women vomited on herself while in the room and was given a T-shirt by one of the men.
Evidence: 20 Minutes of Video
The Herald says that nearly 20 minutes of footage from the casino, starting at 1:38 a.m., shows a “series of flirtations and caresses, interspersed with Wittels rolling the dice and the girls blowing on the men’s gambling chips for good luck. There is considerable physical contact, generally initiated by the girls. They kiss the men individually. They engage in three-way kisses with each other and Rothschild.”
Dragon's Lounge at Atlantis
Wittels is described as having a “backward ball cap perched over a shaggy head of hair.” He had not had a haircut since the start of a 56-game hitting streak.
Reports the Herald: “At 1:52 a.m., the girl in the black dress spins Wittels around so that his back is to the craps table and as she kisses him, he leaps back partly over the craps table. Thirty seconds later, he embraces her with his hands fully behind her hips.”
Both women are “shoeless” as the group leaves the craps table at 1:54 a.m. Oberti, who was not at the table, joins Wittels, Rothschild and the two women in the adjoining hotel rooms of the men.
The woman in the green top said she and her friend left the bar by themselves and were followed by the men.
However, the Herald said that the videotape it viewed shows Wittels and the woman in the green top walking hand-in-hand.
The paper says it reported in 2004 article that the father of one of the women was accused of planning to hire an actress to falsely claim she had been sexually assaulted at a sporting event.
The man called such charges “preposterous.”
The sport involved (which is not named by the Herald), on Dec. 6, 2004, sued the father on charges he had set up a tent next to a sporting venue in Fort Worth and was seeking to coax women to expose themselves or engage in sexually-explicit acts to be used in a “Girls Gone Nutz” video.
Soon after that, says the Herald, the man was ordered from the premises of a Miami-Dade sporting event on similar charges.
A restraining order was obtained prohibiting the father from representing that he was working under the aegis of the sport, said the Herald.
Present in the Atlantis with the father for a four-day vacation were the two women, the “girlfriend” of the father, and the mother of the girlfriend and his young son.
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