Rape allegedly occurs on ferry

An alleged sexual assault took place on an SSA ferry. — Rich Saltzberg

Updated June 9

A Dorchester man has been arraigned on two counts of rape in connection with an alleged sexual assault Monday aboard a Steamship Authority ferry crossing between Martha’s Vineyard and Woods Hole, according to the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office and police statements. 

“On June 7th, 2021, Falmouth Police, Edgartown Police, and Massachusetts State Police detectives were notified of an alleged sexual assault that occurred on the Steamship Authority ferry while travelling from Martha’s Vineyard to Woods Hole,” Cape and Islands DA spokesperson Tara Miltimore wrote in an email. A Massachusetts State Police blog posting stated the victim was an 18-year-old woman. 

Miltimore identified the suspect as Bruno Sanches De Jesus, 20, of Dorchester. Sanches De Jesus “was stopped in a vehicle after exiting the ferry by Massachusetts State Police, and taken to the Bourne Barracks,” she wrote. State Police described the vehicle as a commercial box truck, and said it was pulled over on Route 28. 

Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee told The Times that Edgartown Police Lt. Chris Dolby happened to be traveling on the ferry, and he was approached by someone who outlined the incident and said the police were needed. Chief McNamee said Lt. Dolby was able to snap a photo of the defendant’s vehicle, which assisted the State Police with finding that person. 

On Tuesday, Sanches De Jesus was arraigned in Falmouth District Court on two counts of rape, Miltimore wrote. Falmouth District Court Judge Paul Pino set bail at $25,000. GPS monitoring and a stay away/no contact order were also ordered. He is expected for a probable-cause hearing on June 29. 

SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll acknowledged the incident Monday evening, but offered little detail. “We are aware an incident happened on board one of our vessels, and that the State Police responded to it,” Driscoll wrote. “We are cooperating with the State Police in their investigation.”

Updated with more details about the incident. 


  1. To all the Steamship Staff that are working through all the turmoil going on around you, I understand and want to encourage you to stay positive. If the management were required to spend a month working on the ferries, ticket offices, buses and staging areas perhaps then they could understand the consequences of their management decisions.

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