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'These are very sensitive issues': Passenger blames this cruise line for sexual assault incident

'Once there's a reason to know the danger you have to inform the passengers,' attorney Alex Perez says
Posted at 5:22 PM, Jun 20, 2024

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — For the second time this year, a former Margaritaville at Sea passenger is claiming to be a victim of sexual assault filed suit against the cruise line.

Investigative reporter Dave Bohman has been digging into the details of the lawsuit and was told that the alleged assault did "not take place on the ship."

A woman, identified only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, said she took a Margaritaville at Sea cruise back in August 2023. The ship docked in Freeport, Bahamas.

Her lawsuit claimed the cruise line Concora, the company that operates Margaritaville at Sea, arranged for her to stay at a Wyndham Hotel in Freeport.

She claims she was assaulted at the Wyndham Hotel and blames the cruise line for putting her up at the hotel, because she was a passenger who didn't have a room on the ship.

The lawsuit claims "she left her room at night to get a drink of water," where a hotel worker forced her, "into the control room for the resort's theater, locked the door, and then raped (her)."

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Attorney Alex Perez says the cruise line should inform passengers of potential dangers.

"These are very sensitive issues," Alex Perez, the victim’s lawyer, said.

In the lawsuit, the woman alleges there was evidence of a sexual assault at the hotel in 2016, that the cruise line should have warned her about.

"Once there's a reason to know the danger you have to inform the passengers,” Perez said, “so they can make informed decisions about what they're going to do."

I called and emailed both the parent company of Margaritaville at Sea, and Wyndham Resorts to get their side of the story but did not get a response.

This is the second lawsuit filed in recent months filed by a Margaritaville passenger who blamed the cruise line for a sexual assault.

A West Virginia woman claims she was raped by a ship's bartender and became pregnant.

The case was settled, and the bartender is now serving time in a federal prison.

The recent lawsuit faults the cruise line for not warning the woman of the dangers of Freeport noting, "between 2018-19, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for the Bahamas, specifically including Freeport, warning that violent crime, including sexual assault, is common."

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Travel agent Jeanne Knight says traveling in groups is safer.

"And we think that's something the cruise line should have echoed to the passengers," Perez said.

I spoke with travel agent Jeanne Knight, who specializes in booking cruises, about what travelers should know about visiting Freeport.

"You're always safer in a group, right? Whether you're hanging out by the pool or staying at home,” Knight said, “there's safety in numbers."

There is not police report in Freeport mentioned in the lawsuit.

And again, the alleged assault took place in a hotel, not on the ship.

The woman is suing Margaritaville at Sea, because the suit claims it arranged for her hotel accommodations, and in her lawyers opinion, was at least partly responsible for her safety.

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