Derrick Wiggins was arrested on July 21 for allegedly sexually assaulting a female tourist in Miami Beach, Florida. Wiggins, 30, is charged with sexual battery and is being held on $100,000 bond. It is unclear if he has acquired legal representation.
According to the arrest report, the alleged assault occurred at 8:30 p.m. near the Kantina restaurant in the 800 block of Ocean Drive in South Beach. The victim was reportedly having dinner with her friends at the restaurant when they first saw Wiggins. She later told police that she “felt sorry” for Wiggins as he was confronted by an unknown diner who rudely told him to leave. The victim asked the man to leave Wiggins alone and go back to his dinner.
After they finished their meal, the group left the restaurant and walked across Ocean Drive to Lummus Park where they sat down. Wiggins reportedly followed them, but was chased away by restaurant employees.
“She then walked toward the beach area with her friends, a group of eight females and sat around the shoreline area,” the report said. Wiggins reportedly followed them again and this time he tried to grab the victim by the waist and pulled her arms. The victim fell into the water with Wiggins and tried to fight him off, but she was unable to free herself. She told police she could feel her swimsuit bottom being pulled down as Wiggins’ hand tried to penetrate her.
Two of her friends attempted to help her and struck Wiggins until the victim managed to temporarily break away, but he reportedly grabbed her again and knocked her back down into the water and tried to penetrate her with his hand again. The victim’s friends eventually managed to fight off Wiggins and save her. She had bruises on her arms, legs, knees, and inner thigh area, the report said.
Wiggins fled the scene but was later arrested by police and reportedly confessed to the crime. During his appearance in bond court, prosecutors called him an “extreme danger to the community, especially women on South Beach.” Wiggins is a homeless man with a criminal history that includes several incidents in South Beach involving tourists.
When contacted by the press, the victim offered safety tips to other female tourists.
“[I want to] raise awareness to women traveling and their safety,” she told 7News. “I suggest that women utilize whatever self defense tactics they have to protect themselves and others and call for help as soon as possible.”
In Florida, “sexual battery” and “rape” are synonymous. It is one of the most aggressively prosecuted crimes in the state and carries some of the most severe penalties of any criminal offense. Sexual battery occurs when someone compels a victim to engage in sexual intercourse against the victim’s will.
Penalties for this charge depend on the circumstances of the crime and the ages of the parties involved. Sexual battery is classified as a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of sex offender probation, and up to $10,000 in fine. A person convicted of this charge must receive a minimum sentence of 95 months in prison.