DALLAS -- Iberostar Paraiso Maya looks like the perfect picture of paradise, described on its website as a five-star luxury resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
And with an average of 4.5 star reviews on the popular travel site TripAdvisor, you'd never think otherwise.
Kristie Love, of Dallas, said think again.
"You don't understand, I wasn't on the beach," she told the media partners, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "This wasn't a harassment. I was raped."
Love says in 2010, a hotel security guard raped her when her key card stopped working and she asked him for help.
"He grabbed my arm. I pushed him off no. He grabbed my other arm, threw me in the bushes. And that's what happened," said Love.
She said management refused to call police. She later turned to TripAdvisor to warn others.
"Every day TripAdvisor would remove delete that post, so I would go immediately and repost it, and it would be removed again," said Love.
Kristie's warnings aren't the only ones that have been deleted.
The Journal Sentinel interviewed more than a dozen people who say TripAdvisor deleted their posts about blackouts, rapes, or injuries at luxury Mexican resorts, saying the content wasn't family-friendly or was hearsay.
The Journal Sentinel found that some hotels pay TripAdvisor when travelers click on their links or book travel, and good reviews help.
In a statement today, TripAdvisor apologized to Kristie, adding, "There is no tie between commercial relationships with our partners and how our content guidelines are applied to reviews or forum posts published on the site. "
"It surprised me to be honest," said Randy Pauer, a Dallas travel agent, and owner of The Pauer Group. "I do use TripAdvisor."
Pauer said reviews on TripAdvisor are just some of the tools he uses.
"I'm ultimately responsible for where I send my clients," he said.
After the Journal Sentinel asked questions, Love's original review was republished, seven years later, after TripAdvisor said it changed its policies.
"Since 2010, when the forum post was removed, our policies and processes have evolved to better provide information like this to other travelers. As a result, when recently brought to our attention, the victim's initial forum post was republished by our staff," said the statement from TripAdvisor.
At least two other sexual assaults have been reported at the same resort since 2010, and Love wonders if her post could have helped warn others if it had remained up.
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