Police: Cruise ship visitor was attacked
Criminal charges have been filed in connection with what police said was the attempted sexual assault of a cruise ship passenger in George Town last summer.
Royal Cayman Islands Police said three counts of indecent assault were filed against a 43-year-old male, identified in US court records as Shawn Mourao, a South African citizen who is a resident of the Cayman Islands.
Mourao was named in the US because of a federal court lawsuit filed by a New Jersey woman who claims she was sexually assaulted in a downtown George Town building on 27 July, 2012. The criminal charges and the lawsuit seeking a monetary award for damages relate to the same incident.
The victim, whose name the Caymanian Compass is not releasing, alleges in the lawsuit that she was attacked by the captain of a tour boat after it returned to George Town harbour. In mid-August 2012, a 43-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident on suspicion of attempted rape. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service confirmed the report of the attack and the arrest in mid-September after receiving questions about it from the local press.
On Wednesday, local police confirmed indecent assault charges had been filed in the case and that Mourao’s next court appearance was set for October. Mourao’s attorney, Lucy Organ, said the charges were filed against her client back in December, that he had since appeared in court twice and that the 28 October setting in the case was for a trial date.
The victim is seeking at least US$2 million in damages from Mourao and the company he worked for, Cayman Style Ocean Adventures, Inc, according to the US federal court lawsuit that was filed last Friday.
The lawsuit states the victim in the case was a cruise ship passenger who had booked a seven-day “Exotic Western Caribbean Cruise” that included stops in Mexico, Belize, Roatan and Grand Cayman. As part of the trip, she paid for an $79.99 ‘beach party and snorkelling shore excursion” for Grand Cayman. Cayman Style Ocean adventures, or CSOA, was the contractor who provided the tour for the cruise line.
The victim went on the excursion around 1pm on 27 July, 2012, and returned at 4.30pm to George Town harbour.
According to the lawsuit, after disembarking, the victim asked the tour boat captain where she might find a restroom and the captain led the New Jersey woman to a shopping centre near the waterfront. The lawsuit alleges that the victim was taken to a small room in the property where the offence occurred. The victim repeated pleas for the suspect to stop and eventually escaped from the small room, running off half-naked to find the friend she had come on the cruise with, the lawsuit alleges.
The attack was reported to authorities on board the cruise ship where the victim was evaluated and a rape kit was administered, the lawsuit states.
According to attorneys for the New Jersey woman, southern Florida is the proper venue for the lawsuit “insofar as the defendant corporation, CSOA, was a Florida corporation at the time of this incident, or may be found within this district”.