MIAMI – A South Florida maritime attorney filed a $25 million lawsuit this week against a Miami-based luxury cruise line and a bartender on behalf of a 46-year-old woman from North Carolina who claims that she was raped in June 2015.
According to the lawsuit, the woman, who was a repeat passenger on the SeaDream Yacht Club voyages, was raped by a bartender on the ship on June 24, 2015.
The woman claims she was held against her will behind a bar on the ship by the bartender, Rui Manuel Duarte Guerreiro, who allegedly closed all the windows near them and then raped her vaginally, orally and anally.
The complaint states that the rape lasted for an extended period of time, during which the victim repeatedly told Duarte Guerreiro to stop and asked, "Why are you doing this?"
The woman claims to have suffered physical and mental injuries that have changed her life, and now she wants to hold the cruise line accountable.
"My client is extremely brave to tell her story publicly," attorney Michael Winkelman said in a statement. "Her primary motivation is raising public awareness of the hidden dangers at sea and making sure this doesn't happen to anyone else."
A representative for Winkleman's firm said the lawsuit is the only recourse for the victim because Duarte Guerreiro is a Portuguese citizen and the incident happened in international waters.
According to the complaint, SeaDream Yacht Club is a corporation incorporated under the laws of the Bahamas, but its principal place of business is in Miami.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial.