Bars' Safety Responsibilities Examined In Wake Of Woman’s Abduction

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BOSTON (WBZ-AM) — City councilors say the abduction of a woman late at night downtown has them considering whether police and licensing authorities need to do more to keep young bar patrons safe at night.

The woman was abducted on the street, but had just left a Faneuil Hall-area bar. She was held for three days in the Charlestown apartment of her alleged abductor, Victor Pena, and found alive by police Tuesday afternoon. Investigators are now determining if anything that happened in the bar may have contributed to what happened to her.

The Boston City Council discussed the issue, as several members said they were hearing from constituents in the wake of the abduction. Annissa Essaibi-George said bars do bear responsibility for their patrons.

“I think it’s important for us to take a look at the responsibility that the business owner, that the bar owner has when they’re feeding drinks to a young woman and then letting her leave in a highly-intoxicated state,” Essaibi-George said. “There is a certain level of responsibility that the bar owner does have.”

She said younger people deserve extra layers of protection.

"We as a city have to hold those establishments accountable, and make sure that when we're granting them a particular license, that they're behaving well as business owners, that they're serving their clients, their patrons in a safe way," she said.

City Councilor Ed Flynn said women need to feel safe when they’re out at night, and bar owners bear some responsibility for ensuring that safety.

“The bottom line is, we have to protect these especially young people, women that are coming into the bars, making sure that they’re not exploited, they’re not separated from their group that they came in with," Flynn said. "Public safety still has to be the top priority."

"I think it's a good idea to have as much police presence in and around bars and restaurants as we possibly can in the downtown area," he continued. "We need to work closely with the businesses, especially on a Friday or a Saturday evening."

The city's licensing board will hold a hearing to look into the abduction and determine whether the bar the woman visited bears any responsibility for what happened.

WBZ NewsRadio's Mike Macklin reports

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