A Royal Caribbean Cruise crewman sexually assaulted a South Florida passenger during a New Year’s cruise, an attack that was partially captured on surveillance video, according to a federal lawsuit.
The woman identified as S.M. was attacked on Jan. 1 on the Navigator of the Seas during an Eastern Caribbean cruise, the lawsuit alleges.
Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD is based in Miami-Dade.
On the morning of the attack, the victim had gone to an upper-level deck to use a whirlpool. The woman asked a crew member for a towel, and he led her into a bathroom, where he assaulted her, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
Ship surveillance video captured her following him into the bathroom — and her trying to escape, only to be dragged back in to the room, said Miami attorney Michael Feiler.
The woman slipped away and reported the attack to ship security. Feiler believes Royal 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,” Feiler said. “You need to cooperate with the victim and assist in bringing him to the proper authorities.”
A company spokesman said the ship’s security immediately “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.
“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.”
Law enforcement did not arrest the man, who was from India.