This Article is From Jan 05, 2024

US Woman Claims Cruise Ship Bartender Raped And Impregnated Her In Cabin

The alleged assault occurred in May 2023 aboard the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise as it was sailing from Rivera Beach in Florida to Freeport, Bahamas.

US Woman Claims Cruise Ship Bartender Raped And Impregnated Her In Cabin

The woman is seeking more than $75,000 in damages from the cruise line. (Representative pic)

A US woman is suing a cruise operator after a crew member allegedly snuck into her cabin and raped her, causing her to become pregnant. According to the New York Post, the alleged assault occurred in May 2023 aboard the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise as it was sailing from Rivera Beach in Florida to Freeport, Bahamas. The woman, identified as Jane Doe, filed a federal lawsuit against the cruise ship after the bartender, Hoobesh Kumar Dookhy, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her cabin mate on the same night last May. 

In the lawsuit, obtained by the Post, Ms Doe claimed that she and her cabin mate, identified as HB, had been drinking at a bar aboard the ship on the evening of May 5. Both charged the beverages to their cabin, "providing crewmembers staffing the bar access to their shared cabin number and room key". 

The woman alleged that as they slept in the cabin later that night, the bartender entered the room and raped her. Ms Doe became pregnant as a result and was "forced to terminate the pregnancy from which she then suffered serious complications," the lawsuit said. 

Speaking to Newsweek, Ms Doe's attorney, Spencer Aronfeld, said that his client reported the assault to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) prior to filing the lawsuit. She also did not undergo a paternity test to determine who impregnated her because she had not been sexually active at the time, the attorney said. "She didn't need one since she knew she had not had sexual relations with anyone including her husband for months," he said.

"Additionally, she has never had an abortion before-and she suffered vaginal clotting after the procedure. Under federal maritime law a cruise line is legally responsible anytime a crewmember rapes a passenger. There is no defense to an intentional harm," Mr Aronfeld told the outlet. 

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Ms Doe is now seeking more than $75,000 in damages from the cruise line. She told the FBI that she had been sleeping when she felt someone caressing her face. She woke and realised the person touching her was Dookhy. She told the federal agents that she tried to get the bartender to leave the cabin, but he moved to her cabin mate's bed and began to sexually assault her. 

Ms Doe reported the incident to the ship security the next day. Officials then found the women's room key in the pocket of Dookhy's vest and a photo of the bartender touching HB's hand and face while she was asleep. 

Notably, Ms Doe's cabin mate filed a separate lawsuit in August against Classica Cruise Operator Ltd, and against Margaritaville at Sea, alleging Dookhy also raped her. The bartender admitted to sexual intercourse with HB, however, he said that the encounter was consensual. He initially faced the possibility of life behind bars on a sexual-abuse charge. However, he pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact in October as part of a plea agreement that saw the more serious charge against him dropped. 

Dookhy now faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 at a sentencing hearing set for later in January. 

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