May 12, 2006
Vincentian facing rape charge in US

Edgerton Philip Medford faces extradition to the United States to answer federal charges that he raped a 15-year-old girl while he worked on the cruise ship Rhapsody of the Sea in July 2003 while he was on duty aboard the ship.

At the scheduled May 19 hearing date, the court will hear evidence and be asked to determine whether or not Medford should be extradited.{{more}}

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sources indicate that the FBI is confident that they have a solid case against the Sion Hill man, who up to the time of his arrest was working as a bartender and room attendant at a Southern Grenadines resort.

Four employees of the ship including Medford were questioned in Texas by the FBI in relation to the matter. When the dust had settled Medford and another man were charged for the alleged rape.

Medford is said to have sought “compassionate leave” shortly after being questioned by the FBI. He returned home, and failed to rejoin the ship at the end of his leave. His lawyer Duane Daniel however told SEARCHLIGHT that his client’s leave from the ship had nothing to do with the questioning but rather to attend to a relative who was ill. With regard to Medford overstaying his leave, Daniel said that it was a contractual issue not an attempt to evade anything.

Relatives are said to be concerned about the health of Medford who currently has a metal plate in his head. He recently underwent surgery for a head injury he suffered while playing football. Daniel told SEARCHLIGHT that “It is not uncommon for me to be speaking to him and he just have a big lapse.”

Doctors have reportedly advised Medford that he should avoid high stress situations because of the pain and possible danger it could cause to him. SEARCHLIGHT learnt that he is being accommodated by prison officials who allow special “softer” pillows to be brought into prison for him because of his condition.