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Woman says cruise bartender raped, impregnated her in $75K lawsuit

Two cruise passengers say a crew member sexually assaulted them. One of them said she was impregnated in the assault and had to get an abortion.
Woman says cruise bartender raped, impregnated her in $75K lawsuit
Posted at 9:18 PM, Jan 10, 2024

A woman claims a bartender on the Margaritaville at Sea cruise snuck into her cabin and raped her, leaving her with a pregnancy she was "forced to terminate," her lawsuit filed Dec. 29 states.

The passenger's complaint against Classica Cruise Operator, which does business as Margaritaville at Sea, centers on the evening of May 5, when the vacation vessel was sailing from Florida's Palm Beach to the Bahamas.

The West Virginia woman, identified only as Jane Doe in the suit, alleges she and her traveling companion, identified as H.B., had been drinking at one of the ship's bars that night before returning to their shared cabin. They had charged the beverages to their cabin number, which they say gave the staff details of their room's location as well as the key.

After returning to the cabin and going to sleep, Jane Doe claims the ship's bartender, Hoobesh Kumar Dookhy, entered and raped her, resulting in her becoming pregnant. She says she eventually had to terminate the pregnancy, which resulted in her suffering "serious complications."

Doe's allegations match those highlighted in another sexual abuse case against Dookhy stemming from the same evening. That one, filed in May, centered on accusations from Doe's companion, H.B., and ended with a guilty plea from Dookhy.

According to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent that May, H.B. told federal investigators Dookhy didn't return her room key that May 5 evening after she used it to pay for her bar tab. She told FBI agents she awoke that evening to find Dookhy sexually assaulting her. 

Doe, identified under a different alias in the May case, also told investigators she awoke to find Dookhy in her cabin, caressing her face. She claims Dookhy told her H.B. had left him the room key and told him to come there — a statement he later repeated to FBI agents.

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Doe told the FBI she tried to get the man to leave the cabin, but he instead walked over to H.B.'s bed and touched her inappropriately as Doe recorded and took photos of the alleged assault, which she later gave to the FBI. She claims he did end up leaving, but she said she believes he re-entered later and committed further crimes against them. 

The affidavit lists two times the cabin's key card was allegedly used by Dookhy, and it confirms he was the women's bartender that evening. Dookhy told FBI agents he had entered the cabin only once and stayed for two to three hours, later having consensual sex with H.B. while Doe was asleep. 

In October, the bartender pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact in regards to H.B.'s accusations, according to court records. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of two years followed by a supervised release term lasting up to one year. The court could also impose a $250,000 fine at the sentencing, which is set for Jan. 30. For now, Dookhy is being held at Miami's Federal Detention Center. 

Dookhy is not currently facing any criminal charges in connection to Jane Doe's case, which seeks damages in excess of $75,000 against the cruise operator for failing to protect her from the crew member's alleged crimes.

Doe's attorney told The Washington Post his client only realized Dookhy had allegedly raped her when she realized she was pregnant. He also told the publication Doe hadn't engaged in sexual activity with anyone in the months surrounding the cruise and that her medical records show she was impregnated within the timeline of the alleged assault.

He also said Doe is a wife, mother and deeply religious person who had to travel to obtain an abortion, as her conservative home state wouldn't allow it.

A statement obtained by The Washington Post from Margaritaville at Sea states the company didn't know about Doe's accusations until her lawsuit was filed. It said Dookhy was immediately terminated and that it assisted investigators every step of the way.

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