Carnival Cruise Line owes alleged rape victim $10 million, jury finds


A jury in federal court in Miami has found Carnival Cruise Line owes $10.2 million to a woman who alleged a crew member raped her while on a cruise in 2018.

Tuesday’s verdict in the Southern District of Florida determined that as a Carnival employee, Fredy Anggara sexually assaulted a woman who filed a 2019 complaint as Jane Doe. The jury found Carnival liable for $243,000 in past and future medical and psychological expenses and $10 million in additional damages for physical and emotional distress.

“I understand this is the biggest verdict ever [for] a victim of sexual assault against a major cruise line,” said Daniel Courtney, the attorney for the woman who filed the complaint.

The woman and Carnival Corporation may file motions to request a different payment. Courtney said the process could take years.

The jury found that Carnival was not negligent in the assault and that Anggara did not intentionally inflict emotional distress on the plaintiff.

Carnival Corp. released a written statement stating that she denies the lawsuit allegations and intends to appeal the decision.

“The crew member admitted that he had a consensual sexual encounter with the guest, which is consistent with an FBI investigation that found the encounter to be consensual,” Carnival said in a statement. The FBI did not bring criminal charges against Anggara, Courtney said, and the lawsuit did not name him as a defendant.

Courtney said her client was “very drunk” and “concussed” at the time of the alleged rape because she hit the back of her head in a fall.

“To say it’s consensual is really hurtful to him,” Courtney said.

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According to Carnival’s statement, the company fired Anggara after the incident was reported because it has a zero-tolerance policy for “crew fraternization with guests.”

“The safety and security of Carnival guests is paramount,” the statement read. “Carnival complies with all applicable passenger safety and security rules and regulations, including the US Cruise Ship Safety and Security Act and US Coast Guard requirements. Carnival is also RAINN certified. and follows its guidelines for handling and investigating alleged sexual assaults.

The matter falls within federal jurisdiction under general maritime law. The Washington Post does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes.

According to the civil complaint filed in Miami, the incident occurred aboard the Carnival Miracle on December 1, 2018, when the plaintiff was 21 years old. The lawsuit states that it was his first cruise.

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Anggara was waiting for the plaintiff as she climbed a flight of stairs alone, according to the lawsuit, at which point he locked her in a maintenance closet and raped her. Immediately afterwards, according to the lawsuit, the plaintiff went to her bedroom, told her friend what had happened, and “began to hyperventilate and have panic attacks.”

The plaintiff reported the alleged assault to Carnival staff members, then submitted to a rape kit and interviews with ship and FBI security agents, according to the civil complaint.

The lawsuit claims Carnival was responsible for the rape because it failed to monitor dark, public areas of the ship where women might be vulnerable to assault. It says the company should have exercised a reasonable level of care for customers because “aboard its cruise ships there have been numerous assaults, battery, sexual assault and battery, rape and attacks by the crew on The passengers”.

In court documents responding to questions from Carnival Corp.’s representation, the plaintiff described how the alleged assault changed her life.

“I have depressive episodes,” she says in the documents. “I suffer from anxiety especially in public. It affected my intimacy with a person.

“At rock bottom, I thought about killing myself,” she says in the documents. “I had a project. I went to visit my friends and made memories for them to remember me. I also wrote notes for everyone. I was hospitalized. »

In the statistics kept by the transport department showing allegations of criminal activity on ships that embark and disembark passengers in the United States, sexual assault is the most significant offence. There were 82 allegations in 2018 and 101 in 2019. The pandemic forced an industry-wide cruise shutdown in March 2020, and the department has not updated the reports since the ships cruisers have started sailing again.

Attorney Michael Winkleman said his firm, Lipcon, Margulies and Winkleman, handles a “huge” number of sexual assault cases on behalf of cruise lines. He did not work on the Carnival lawsuit which was decided this week.

“I always say it’s an outbreak hidden at sea,” he said. He pointed to the lack of independent law enforcement on ships and excessive alcohol service as contributing factors.

“You have these unlimited drink packages that are on every cruise line,” Winkleman said. “It’s just a recipe for people being overserved, drinking too much alcohol, and that’s where bad things happen.”

He said most of these cases result in confidential settlements.

“It’s somewhat atypical for a case to go to trial like this, and I think the outcome is a significant one,” Winkleman said.

Cruise industry officials have insisted over the years that allegations of serious crime on ships are rare, pointing to an industry commission report comparing violent crime rates at sea and on land.

Alice Crites contributed to this report.

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