Cruise passenger seeks redress over attack

Indecent assault in GT alleged

More than 18 months after a reported indecent assault on a cruise ship passenger in George Town, the alleged victim has been foiled in attempts to obtain justice, either through the criminal courts in Cayman or the civil courts in the United States.  

An arrest warrant was issued in October 2013 for Shawn Mourao, 44, the South African boat captain accused in the July 2012 incident. The warrant was issued after Mr. Mourao failed to appear before Grand Court Justice Charles Quin on indecent assault charges.  

“Mourao has fled the Cayman Islands and is currently a fugitive from justice,” according to court papers filed in U.S. District Court, southern district of Florida, on Jan. 28, 2014. “Mourao’s current whereabouts are unknown and Interpol has issued a warrant for his arrest and return to the Cayman Islands. 

“As such, it is unknown at this time whether [the alleged victim, who the Caymanian Compass is not identifying] will be able to effectuate a judgment against Mourao …”  

Florida-based attorney Elijah Stiers filed a lawsuit in 2013 on behalf of the woman, who was in her early 20s at the time she was allegedly assaulted.  

The woman is seeking at least US$2 million in damages from Mr. Mourao and the company he worked for, Cayman Style Ocean Adventures, Inc., or CSOA, according to the U.S. federal court lawsuit. 

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.” 

However, the papers filed at the District Court indicated additional problems in bringing a civil case against the U.S.-based company.  

“Cayman Style Ocean Adventures ‘voluntarily dissolved’ on April 29, 2013,” the court records state. “However, it is believed by [the woman and her attorney] that [the company’s] offices/directors operate a number of similar businesses using different names from the same office address.”  

Cayman Style Ocean Adventures has so far “evaded service [of court papers] and completely ignored this lawsuit,” Mr. Stiers noted in the court filing.  

If there is no response to the court claims by mid-February, Mr. Stiers has said, his firm will seek summary judgment against Mr. Mourau and Cayman Style Ocean Adventures related to the incident.  

The lawsuit states the woman 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 $79.99 for a “beach party and snorkeling shore excursion” in Grand Cayman. Cayman Style Ocean Adventures was the contractor that provided the tour for the cruise line. 

The woman went on the excursion around 
1 p.m. on July 27, 2012, and returned at 4:30 p.m. to George Town harbor. 

According to the lawsuit, after disembarking, the woman asked the tour boat captain where she might find a restroom, and the captain led her to a shopping center near the waterfront. The lawsuit alleges that the woman was taken to a small room on the property where the offense occurred. The woman repeated pleas for the suspect to stop, and she 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 woman was evaluated and a rape kit was administered, the lawsuit states. 

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