MIAMI, Aug 16, CMC – A South Florida passenger on a New Year’s cruise to the Eastern Caribbean has filed a US federal lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, claiming that a crewman sexually assaulted her.
The suit, filed in a federal district court here on Wednesday, alleges that the woman, identified only as S.M., was attacked on January 1 on the Navigator of the Seas during an Eastern Caribbean cruise.
In court papers, the passenger said on the morning of the alleged attack, she had gone to an upper-level deck to use a whirlpool. She said she asked a crew member for a towel, and he led her into a bathroom, where he allegedly assaulted her.
Miami attorney Michael Feiler, who is representing the alleged victim, said ship surveillance video captured the woman following the crewmember into the bathroom — and her trying to escape, only to be dragged back in to the room.
Feiler said his client slipped away and reported the attack to ship security.
He believes the ship’s security officers took the man into custody and kicked him off the ship at the next overseas port.
“This is a problem in the cruise industry; and, if the company cared, it wouldn’t just turn this guy loose in the nearest port, you need to cooperate with the victim and assist in bringing him to the proper authorities,” Feiler said.
A Royal Caribbean spokesman said the ship’s security responded and preserved information and potential evidence that could be helpful to law enforcement, including the closed circuit television camera footage.
“The alleged incident was immediately reported to the FBI and local law enforcement in St. Kitts,” he said.
“Royal Caribbean maintains strict policies governing employee interaction with guests. Due to the violation of this policy, the crew member in question is no longer employed by Royal Caribbean” the spokesman added.