Two Mexican police officers have been charged with rape and abuse of authority after allegedly attacking an Italian woman in the resort of Playa del Carmen during the early morning hours of February 12. A third suspect, the officers' commander, is still being sought.
It is alleged the woman was raped after being unable to pay a bribe for the officers to ignore an offense of urinating in a public alley.
The woman said the officers raped her after she and her companion refused to hand over a bribe of 3,000 pesos (US$235). She said they had gone into the alley after leaving a club and failing to find a public restroom.
COMMENT: Although President Enrique Peña Nieto has vowed to tackle violent crime in México since coming to power in December, the reality is that local, state and federal law enforcement is barely on life support with institutionalized corruption resulting in few citizens having confidence in the country's criminal justice system.
Sadly, the incident that happened to the Italian tourist is only the "tip of the iceberg."
My advice to all travelers and tourists to México is to fully comply with Mexican law in every respect and avoid all police officers to the extent possible.
Foreigners who become crime victims in México are urged to contact their appropriate embassy or consulate FIRST and ask for assistance in filing a police complaint, as speaking Spanish is the least of their concerns.