FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A former luxury yacht crew member was awarded $70.6 million by a Broward County judge Monday, years after she was raped by a fellow crew member aboard the yacht on which she worked.
According to a lawsuit filed in July 2016, the victim, the suspect, Rafal Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki, and the captain-project manager, Kurt Tomecek, were the only three employees of the 150-foot yacht at the time of the rape on Feb. 25, 2015.
The rape occurred while the yacht was docked in Broward County.
The victim sued Tomecek and her employer, Island Girl, which owns the Endless Summer yacht.
According to the complaint, Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki, then 39, raped the victim in her living quarters after he got drunk at a bar in Broward County.
The woman claimed that Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki also threatened to kill her if she did not comply with his sexual demands, including intercourse and oral sex.
The lawsuit stated that Tomecek was the only other person aboard the yacht at the time of the rape, but because of the distance between their rooms, which were two floors apart, he was unable to hear the victim's cries for help.
The victim's attorney, Brad Edwards, claimed in the lawsuit that there was no method for the woman to be able to immediately contact Tomecek for help in the event of an emergency and that Island Girl should have known that Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki was unfit for his duties "and/or posed a risk of perpetrating unwanted sexual contact" against the victim.
Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki, who is from Poland, told police after the incident that he had consensual rough sex with the victim, which he believed she enjoyed.
Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki was convicted of sexual battery in December 2016 and sentenced to two years in prison. He has since been deported back to Poland.