Attorneys for an American woman who was allegedly indecently assaulted during a vacation on Grand Cayman in 2012 have asked a U.S. court to order a default judgment in a lawsuit filed by the woman, after neither the suspect nor his former employer responded to court deadlines for the suit.
The woman, who cannot be identified under Cayman Islands law, reported to police that she was attacked in a George Town waterfront building in July 2012 by the captain of a local vessel she and a friend had taken a day-trip with.
Shawn Mourao, 45, was charged with three counts of indecent assault in the case and is the subject of an Interpol warrant seeking his arrest. He is believed to be in South Africa.
On April 14, Florida-based attorney Elijah Stiers requested that a default judgment be entered against the defendant in the civil lawsuit, Cayman Style Ocean Adventures and Mr. Mourao.
“[The] defendant has failed to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint, or serve a copy of any answer or other response upon plaintiff’s [assault victim’s] attorney of record,” the court filing states.
Mr. Stiers has said previously that it is more likely the US$2 million damages claim in the U.S. lawsuit can be collected from the U.S.-based company rather than from Mr. Mourao.
An arrest warrant was issued after Mr. Mourao failed to appear before Grand Court Justice Charles Quin on indecent assault charges last year.
“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] will be able to effectuate a judgment against Mourao ….”
Records filed at the U.S. 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.”
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. She paid $79.99 for a “beach party and snorkeling shore excursion” in 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, the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, after disembarking, she asked the tour boat captain where she might find a restroom. He led her to a small room in nearby shopping center where, the lawsuit alleges, she was assaulted.
The woman repeated pleas for the suspect to stop, and she eventually escaped, running off half-naked to find her friend with whom she was on the cruise, 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.