Cruise Attendant Accused of Sexually Assaulting, Attempting to Throw Woman Overboard
Updated: Wednesday, February 19 2014, 12:38 PM EST
A crew member on a cruise ship is accused of breaking into a passenger's cabin with his master key card, sexually assaulting her and trying to throw her overboard.
The 31-year-old victim, an American passenger on a 7-day Holland American Line Vacations cruise says she was brutally attacked by Ketut Pujayasa, who worked as a cabin attendant. According to a criminal complaint Pujayasa told authorities on February 14 when he delivered breakfast to the alleged victim's room he heard a voice should "wait a minute, son of a [expletive]," after knocking on the cabin door.
Later that day Pujayasa allegedly searched the ship "in order to punch her in the face for insulting him that morning," but was unable to locate her. Pujayasa told authorities that evening he used his master key card to enter her stateroom and hid on the balcony as the victim entered.
He is then accused of violently beating and sexually assaulting the unsuspecting woman, at one point attempting to throw her off the balcony as the ship neared the coast of Roatan, Honduras.
In most cases there are no cameras on cruise ships that record what happens on the balcony. Had Pujayasa been successful in getting her off the ship, it could have remained a mystery. Luckily, the victim managed to escape and was taken via air ambulance to the hospital.
Pujayasa faces federal charges of attempted murder and aggravated sexual abuse, since the alleged attack happened over international waters.
"It's happened before. People have disappeared from these ships," Maritime Lawyer Jim Walker said. "The prosecution rates are exceedingly low and this is the perfect place to commit a crime...assault someone and throw them overboard. Most people get away with it."
CNN was unable to reach Pujayasa's attorney for comment. Holland America fired him and sent a letter to those on board shortly after the incident saying, “We are treating this situation with the utmost seriousness. We are doing everything possible to assist the guest involved as well as the relevant authorities. The crew member has been confined to ensure he will have no guest contact for the remainder of the cruise."