Two weeks ago, the Royal Bahamian Police Force arrested a French-Canadian woman from Quebec who was on an unidentified cruise ship (cruise schedules indicate it was the Norwegian Sky) in Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas for engaging in sex with a 15-year-old boy, who cannot legally give consent to have sexual intercourse under the law of the Bahamas. 

The case involved a rather bizarre situation where the 23 year old woman met an American, 15 year old boy in what a newspaper describes as a "casino and bar area" on the cruise ship. The boy reportedly told the woman, (falsely so) that he was 18 years old. He also reportedly is over 6 feet tall and he was wearing a beard, apparently giving her the impression that he was an adult.   

The two then allegedly engaged in sex in a bathroom on the ship. The boy’s mother learned of the alleged tryst and, over the protestations of her son, reported the alleged incident to the police in the Bahamas.

Section 11(1)(a) of the Bahamas’ Sexual Offences Act, Chapter 99 reads: “Any person who has unlawful sexual intercourse with any person being of or above 14 years of age and under 16 years of age, whether with or without the consent of the person with whom he had unlawful sexual intercourse Bahamas Sexual assaultis guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for life.”

In the U.S., this is called "statutory rape;" it is irrelevant that the defendant was unaware that the child is underage. In Quebec, where the woman is from, 15 year olds can legally consent to sex.

The newspapers in the Bahamas have reported repeatedly on the arrest of the woman. They have published numerous photographs of the young woman in the custody of Bahamian police officers being led from the jail where she is imprisoned to the courthouse where she has attended several hearings in her criminal case. The photographs depict a obviously haggard woman, who has been kept in the harsh conditions of Her Majesty’s Prison, being escorting to court by smiling police officers. 

The woman, who reportedly has three children aged 3, 4 and 5, had been given the cruise by her employer for her exemplary work performance. 

Grand Stirrup Cay is a private island in the Bahamas owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. 

The case, to me, appears to be, among other things, an indictment of the cruise line for allowing a unsupervised teenager into an area of the cruise ship limited to adults and apparently permitting him to drink alcohol. The Canadian woman’s Bahamian defense lawyer was quoted in the Tribune newspaper as saying that "this defendant has a very strong defence as it may be negligence on the part of the cruiseline for allowing the virtual complainant to have access to activities reserved for adults."

I don’t practice criminal law, but it seems highly relevant that the alleged victim apparently lied to the woman that he was an adult. It also seems relevant that due to the boy’s height and facial hair, the woman may have reasonably believed that he was an adult, as he claimed before having sex with her. 

The Bahamas, which has the highest number of reported rapes in the Caribbean, seems to have a double standard in dealing with the issue of sexual assault. I have represented several women, both passengers and crew members, who have been sexually assaulted by crew members on Bahamian-flagged cruise ships in Bahamian waters where the police showed little interest in arresting the perpetrators or where the Bahamian prosecutors quickly dropped the charges.  

The Bahamas also has a deplorable case of prosecuting cases where children are sexually assaulted by crew members on Bahamian-Flagged ships, such as this case where a Disney crew member sexually assaulted a young girl on the Disney Dream. The police in Nassau dropped the case and permitted the cruise line pedophile to leave the jurisdiction. 

The Bahamas’ interest in pursuing the case may also be, in part, political pay-back for Canada’s prior warnings against travel to the Bahamas’ due to its high violent crime rate.  

Have a comment? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

January 20, 2017 Update: The family of the arrested woman, who is raising money for her legal defense via a Go-Fund-Me type of page, is denying that she ever left the casino/bar alone or that she engaged in sexual relations with the boy. 

February 3, 2017 UpdateBahamian police escorted Ms. Gagné back to Court again today where she learned that she will remain in jail. The French-Canadian newspaper Le Nouvelliste says (interpreted) that the defendant should learn later this month whether she will be released on bond and permitted to return to Canada pending the prosecution of the case pending against her.

March 23, 2017 Update: The Bahamas reportedly will abandon pursuing the charges of sexual assault against Ms. Gagné, according to a newspaper in Canada.

Photo credit:  Tribune

  • Cathy S.C. USA

    This poor woman is being made a scapegoat because she is a white foreigner. Black Bahamian men are racist, sexual predators and disrespect their own women by not giving them equal rights. Can you believe women in the Bahamas in this day and age still do not have equal rights, they are treated worst than dogs. Read this article from one of their newspapers and tell me you want to spend your hard earned money in such a racist country.
    Because she is a white foreigner she is paraded in every newspaper, T.V. media to degrade her. But now read one of their own pedophile pastors, he is in one newspaper and no comments are allowed; a hypocrite country the Bahamas is.

  • Cathy S.C. USA
  • Dana Walberg
    Same Bahamian police officer not smiling with Bahamian crooks, only with a white foreigner woman; we should also March on this degrading country!

  • Dana Walberg
  • Marianne

    I took the time to read her mothers statement on the go fund me. Though obvious English is not their first language it appears to me that this is nothing more than a witch hunt . She was with 4 other girls at the time who can testify that nothing happened . There are those among the expat community who are familiar with these tactics and practices . Anyone in my view through no fault of their own could end up like this poor girl. She is a mother of 3 young children and she has 4 witnesses. Now you tell me, this can’t happen to anyone Buyerbeware. This incident shoud be posted far and wide .

  • F.G.

    I just wrote an e-mail to the Canadian government, to a one of their Senators. I tell you this,if this Canadian woman doesn’t get help from her country she will be extorted and jailed at the same time from the corrupt Bahamian government. This is obviously a set up by the sexual predators that are plentiful in the rape capitol of the world known as the Bahamas. If you are a white foreigner and have a bus full of nuns as witness on your behalf, the Bahamian government will always take the side of the Black Bahamian no matter if he is a known criminal. And if you think I’m making this up, just read any of their daily newspapers to see for yourself how their country is falling apart from years of corruption. Thank you for this website Mr. Walker, your are a true American; Canada is our friend.

  • John DeJesus

    The Bahamas is a criminal’s best friend,full of con men just waiting for women like her. She’ll be lucky to get out of jail in 100 years.

  • Desiree

    I sure hope those aren’t hickey’s all over her neck.

  • M

    The age of consent in Quebec, as in the rest of Canada, is 16.

  • A. Hollander

    The Bahamas has become a blood bath of murder, you will be shot even riding a bicycle on the road in the middle of the day.

  • A. Hollander

    Look at the size of the 12 year old Bahamian boy in the photo of the story I posted above, he’s the size of the police officers. This woman is being framed by a government well know for corruption and discrimination against foreigners; I believe the young man lied to her about his age to extort her.

  • UBC Inc.

    It’s about time, I’m sick and tried of cruise ship companies picking crime ridden ports of call. Four or five port of calls and you only use two or three because the places are crime ridden ghettos; what a f*****g rip off. I want to be able to get off the ship and not worry that I’ll be going back to the ship in a body bag. Good job NCL company, I will now start using your company again, for personal and business; thank you.

  • Stanley Morris

    I love the Bahamas, such a laid back country…just remember the island has laws and it is a rich small powerful country. I have been all over the Caribbean on cruises (even Cuba) But I just love going back to the Bahamas especially Abaco No other country in the Caribbean is better

  • Stanley:

    Your IP address indicates that you are sending the message from Nassau, Bahamas.

  • Debbie

    Stanley is just another Bahamian con man who probably works for the corrupt PLP Bahamian government. He’s probably the idiot who thought up their most false advertising scam ever, “It’s better in the Bahamas” bullshit. They are on the path of breaking another murder record for the year of 2017, they’ve already had 23 murders in 42 days; unbelievable, their population is only 330,000 – 23 = 329,977.( ). I am truly surprised there hasn’t been any travel warning yet, 23 murders in 42 days, WOW, if that’s not a war zone, than what is?

  • TT56

    Nassau is so dangerous now that Bahamian newspapers are using their front page to discourage crime. Warning to viewers, the article I posted is of graphic nature, viewer beware. I wouldn’t go to the Bahamas if it was a free and all paid vacation, your chancing of getting killed there are 90%.

  • TT56

    Holy shit Debbie, there has been three more murders since you wrote your comment 24 hours ago, it’s now 26 murders in 43 days, 12 murders in the first 12 days of February.
    Why hasn’t our government issued a travel warning yet, this is insane, this place is a killing field, not even armed police officers are safe. They should hand out handguns to the tourist as they enter their airports, at least they’ll have half a chance of surviving in this wild west of a nation. All in the name of money, on one gives a damn if innocent people die because of no information or misinformation.

  • TT56

    Stanley Morris, this message is for you Bahamian con man or PLP government spy. I hope if there is a God thald thatt he holds you accountable for every lie that you have to has endangered or caused harm because of it. How dare you say no better country than the Bahamas. There have been 28 murders in 44 days in a population of around 350,000 or so and you write this bullshit to the readers; your words have blood on them my friend, but you won’t know until you are judged. Mr. Walker has been called a liar, a trouble maker, a hater of the Bahamas, but in reality he is our best source of information against crooked liars like you; I’ve been a reader for years now, great blog. You and your country only care about the money the tourist bring in, but you could care less about their safety, you don’t even care about your own people. This is what Mr. Walker should post anytime he post anything to do with the Bahamas, the truth, just like their own newspapers do, Mr. Walker, post their own front page! For all to see, with all the blood and brain matter on the ground, show them the real Bahamas. Warning, Graphic image of crime in the Bahamas, viewer beware.
    This is the real Bahamas, I place where you are putting your life in the hands of killers and a corrupt government who doesn’t give a damn. 28 murders in 44 days and not a word or a statement from their corrupt leader Prime Minister Perry Christie. Thank you Mr. Walker for keeping us Americans and our Canadian friends safe, we know who the real lairs are, the inter net exposes their lies every time.

  • Carry W.

    A buddy of mine emailed me today telling me Carnival cruise will be going to Cuba now along with Norwegian Cruise Lines dropping the Bahamas; he works for Carnival cruise company. This is great news, a new place to see, and I hear the people are nice and friendly who take pride in their culture; great music too, I love that Afro-Cuban beat. I was reading the other comments on this article and it is so sad that the Bahamian government has stooped to such low values. They can’t even come together on the truth, check out these two articles I pasted below, one from the police commissioner and the other from the Prime Minister; they contradict each other….LOL….funny as hell, almost a comedy show if it wasn’t for all the murders. Also read the comments from the Bahamian people on these websites, they are funny as hell, but tell the truth; great blog. mr. james walker.
    Look, even on the same front page by the same newspaper….LOL…who the hell needs the NYC comedy clubs when all you have to do is read a Bahamian newspaper….LOL!
    Is that an old style machine gun I see in the photo they posted in the Bahamian newspaper, wow, I haven’t seen anything like that since the 1920’s old gangster photos.