Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Two young men spent their vacation in the brig of a cruise liner after they were falsely accused of rape

Two young men, 22 and 26 years old, spent their week long vacation locked in the small, windowless brig on a Royal Caribbean cruise liner after an unidentified female passenger accused them of rape. Even though the woman then recanted and a physician concluded she had not been sexually assaulted, the men weren't released.

The young men are suing the cruise line in Manhattan federal-court seeking at least $100 million in damages. They are claiming false arrest and imprisonment, assault and battery, and “outrageous conduct causing emotional distress.”

“I was in such stress, I can’t explain how scared I was,” said one of the young men, a commercial-boiler inspector who lives with his family in Brooklyn. “I got locked up for doing nothing.”  The other man said: “The next time we go on vacation, no girls. We won’t talk to anyone.”

The men claim that after climbing into their beds the first night, they were awakened at 5 a.m. by crew members who made them get dressed -- “in prison garments issued by Royal Caribbean.” Then, the staffers led the young men on a high seas perp walk and paraded them “through public areas of the ship to a lock-up facility,” according to court papers.

"Several hours later," according to the New York Post, "they were told they had been accused of raping an 'unidentified woman' who later recanted her allegation and who was examined by a doctor who determined she hadn’t been sexually assaulted. 'Notwithstanding the woman’s recantation and the doctor’s conclusion . . . Royal Caribbean’s arresting agents refused to release plaintiffs or to modify the conditions of their imprisonment,' according to the lawsuit."

The lawyer for the two men said the rape claim “came from a woman who was drunk and who was plainly goaded into making it by a group of people with whom she was traveling.” He accused the Miami-based cruise line of “Gestapo tactics inflicted on two innocent men.”

A Royal Caribbean spokeswoman said the men had been accused of “a serious crime,” and that the company “takes all allegations of crime seriously.  “In this instance, our security personnel onboard followed our established procedures,” spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said.