A married cruise ship passenger alleges she was forced to get an abortion after a bartender on her Margaritaville at Sea ship snuck into her cabin and raped her.
The West Virginia woman, identified only as Jane Doe, filed a federal lawsuit against the Classica cruise line after the bartender, Hoobesh Kumar Dookhy, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her cabin mate on the same night last May.
She was initially classified as a witness to that assault, but decided to file her lawsuit after Dookhy’s conviction, her attorney, Spencer Aronfeld, told the Palm Beach Post.
After her alleged rape, Doe “became pregnant, and was forced to terminate the pregnancy from which she suffered serious complications,” according to the lawsuit obtained by The Post.
Doe and her travel companion, identified as “H.B.,” were sailing on the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise from Riviera Beach, Florida, to the Bahamas on May 5 when they bought alcoholic drinks, the lawsuit says.
“They both charged the beverages to their cabin number, thereby providing crewmembers staffing the bar access to their shared cabin number and room key,” the filing states.
After finishing their drinks, the women returned to their cabin, which Dookhy allegedly entered in the middle of the night.
Doe told the FBI she awoke to find Dookhy caressing her face and sexually assaulting her, the Palm Beach Post reported. She said she demanded that he leave, but that he moved to HB’s bed and assaulted her as well.
Doe reported it to the ship security the next day, according to the outlet.
Officials found the women’s room key in the pocket of Dookhy’s vest and a photo of the bartender beside the naked and sleeping HB on his cellphone, the Palm Beach paper reported.
Dookhy later claimed that his encounter with HB was consensual.
He initially faced the possibility of life behind bars on a sexual-abuse charge. However, the most serious charges were dropped in a deal in which he pleaded guilty in November to one count of abusive sexual contact.
Dookhy now faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 at a sentencing hearing next Thursday.
US District Judge Robin Rosenberg has struck down HB’s own request for punitive damages against Classica, but she continues to seek compensatory damages, according to the outlet.
Aronfeld said the judge’s decision doesn’t preclude Doe from seeking punitive damages and called the two lawsuits “considerably different.”
She claims to have “suffered physical, emotional and psychological pain,” as well as “embarrassment, humiliation, sustained mental anguish” and “aggravation and activation of preexisting conditions, and sustained disability and the inability to lead a normal life.”
Aronfeld said his client did not undergo a paternity test but said she plans to testify that she and her husband were not sexually active before or after the alleged rape, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Doe is seeking a jury trial and $75,000 in damages from Classica.
Classica and Margaritaville at Sea did not immediately respond to requests for comment.