(Head injuries sustained by Snell the night of January 28, 2023)
Palm Springs, CA
Rand Snell, a gay St. Petersburg Florida resident who visited Palm Springs during the weekend of January 28th this year was sexually assaulted while staying at Las Brisas Best Western hotel in Downtown Palm Springs.
It all started when Snell signed onto an online dating app. There, he was chatted up by a man with a screenname called BiTop, who told Snell he was a Palm Springs resident. After chatting for a little while, BiTop asked Snell if he could go to his hotel room to meet. Snell agreed. What happened afterwards has caused Snell a significant amount of trauma with no resolution in sight, as of yet.
In his own words Rand Snell told the story saying,
“On January 28, 2023 I was drugged, assaulted and sexually assaulted by a guy who hit me up online and asked to come to my hotel room in Palm Springs.
On arrival we briefly engaged in consensual activities. Then he unexpectedly slipped a large amount of methamphetamines into my rectum and I went in and out of consciousness over the next several hours as he raped, burned, beat, bit and kicked me.
I asked him repeatedly to stop and repeatedly to leave. But he continued to add drugs and assault me sexually and physically. I was very weak, in trauma, and both physically and emotionally unable to defend myself.
(Rand Snell at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs after the attack)
When the attacker did finally leave I called for police and EMTs. My heart was beating in the 170s. I was hospitalized and the injuries were extensive, with first and third degree burns on my right hip and buttocks and numerous lacerations and torn skin on my head, arms, torso, legs, feet, armpits and face.
The attacker is still at large. I am posting here to warn others of the potential danger from any anonymous hookup, and especially from this particular predator.
After an initial personal post right after the attack, and after speaking about the attack at a Palm Springs recovery meeting, two others told me they had similar encounters with the same person, but he was not as violent as he was with me. Both were last fall. Police sought to interview both and did interview one that I’m aware of.
If you would like more information about this person, please message me. He is a Turkish man in his early 50s. His screen name begins with “bitop…”.
If you have been attacked by him or others, please reach out to Detective Juan Jemimez, head of the sexual crimes unit at the Palm Springs Police Department. His email is Juan.Jimenez@palmspringsca.gov.
Since this happened, I have talked with numerous men who have also been sexually assaulted. I have learned that sexual assaults on men happen more often than most realize, and that most assaults are not reported. Perhaps because of underreporting, there are not many resources available for men to heal from the trauma of sexual assault.
Regardless of the circumstances, and whatever the victim might have been doing prior to the assault, NO ONE deserves to be raped. In my personal experience, the police, EMTs and medical personnel at Desert Medical were extremely kind and compassionate. So was the staff at Best Western Las Brisas; two women on staff there told me about their own assault experiences, and their struggle to understand it was not their fault.
I encourage victims to seek trauma counseling. No matter how long ago it was, trauma resonates until it is healed.
And, if you can, please report the crime.
If the men who were assaulted last fall had come forward then, I might have been spared. So now I’m hoping to stop future assaults. Be safe.”
Rand Snell went on to tell me that he had never been physically assaulted before. He said the first time he was burned by BiTop, he pushed him away but after he was hit multiple times, he didn’t feel the additional burns after that.
As of today, Police have not been able to charge the predator believed by Snell to be living in Palm Springs.
This story is a reminder to anyone who goes online to always be careful. The attacker is still believed to be at large in Palm Springs.