Norwegian Cruise Line employee Rajkumar Panneer Selvam, 30, admitted to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old female passenger on the Norwegian Escape ship that sailed from Miami in February 2017. A lawsuit was since filed by the girl's family.
Rajkumar sexually assaulted the girl in the family's cabin.
On Feb. 16, 2017, the family alleges their daughter was sleeping in their cabin around 1 p.m.
Rajkumar, who was the room steward entered the room, the girl began to awake to someone rubbing the inside of her shorts along her upper right leg. The hand then moved underneath her underwear, “along her buttocks and vaginal area,” the lawsuit alleges. When the girl rolled away and pulled the covers over her, the suit alleges Rajkumar continued to pursue her, moving his hands to rub the same area on her body.
Now completely awake, the suit says the girl saw Rajkumar standing over her bed and identified him as the same man who regularly cleaned her cabin.
The suit alleges the girl was “in shock and frightened,” mumbling “no,” when Rajkumar asked if she would like her room cleaned. She got out of bed and went to the adjoining cabin to find her family and friends, who were not there, but encountered the steward again, the suit says. He again asked if she would like him to clean, to which she then replied “yes.”
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The girl then informed her parents to what Rajkumar did to her. The girl's parents reported the sexual assault to the cruise line. When confronted by the cruise line Rajkumar confessed that he did touch the girl's buttocks and pubic region with his hand, skin to skin, while the minor victim was sleeping on the bed. Criminal affidavits show that Rajkumar was confined by the ship's captain until the ship docked. At that point, Norwegian informed investigators.
Security footage provided by the cruise line to the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed the general timeline of the girl’s statements, according to the criminal complaint. It is Norwegian’s policy that crew not enter a stateroom when a guest is inside. It is also a violation of company policy for crew members to touch passengers.
Rajkumar acknowledged that “he did, in fact, touch her buttocks and pubic region with his hand, skin to skin, while the minor victim was sleeping on the bed,” according to an affidavit of support filed in the criminal complaint by an FBI special agent who interviewed Rajkumar.
Rajkumar went to trial in Miami but he was found not guilty.
The lawsuit claims Norwegian was negligent in hiring the crew member without appropriate vetting procedures. Cruise lines usually resort to hiring crew in foreign countries.
In accordance with the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, cruise lines are required to report all sexual assaults, rapes etc. to the FBI.