An Iowa family is suing Norwegian Cruise Lines claiming a crew member sexually assaulted their 12-year-old daughter while she was asleep in their cabin during a February trip from Miami.
According to the suit, 30-year-old Rajkumar Panneer Selvam entered the cabin around 1pm on February 16, 2017 while the girl was napping.
The child, who was only identified by her initials in the suit, had been left alone in the room. It was the second-to-last day of the week-long cruise.
Selvam, who was hired as a steward and had been cleaning the family’s room during their week-long stay on the Norwegian Escape, allegedly started touching the child on the inside of her shorts near her upper right leg, the Miami Herald reports.
A family in Iowa filed a civil lawsuit against Norwegian Cruise Lines alleging that a steward sexually assaulted their 12-year-old daughter
The family claims that 30-year-old Rajkumar Panneer Selvam came into their cabin while the girl was sleeping and sexually assaulted her before asking if he could clean the room. Selvam was found not guilty in trial despite allegedly admitting to the FBI that he touched the child on her ‘buttocks and pubic region’.
He then moved his hand underneath her underwear ‘along her buttocks and vaginal area,’ the suit alleges.
The girl rolled away and pulled the covers over her, but Selvam continued to touch her. The family alleges that he stopped when the child fully woke up.
The suit says the the girl was ‘in shock and frightened’. She tried to get help by walking to the adjacent room, where other family members and friends were staying, but no one was there.
The child then encountered Selvam again, who asked if she wanted the room to be cleaned.
When her parents returned, she told them what happened and the incident was reported the captain. She was able to identify Selvam because he had been to the room before to clean it.
Selvam was detained until the ship docked, and the FBI was notified.
The crew member told investigators that he had entered the room while the girl was in there sleeping and said he had touched her. Both entering a cabin with a guest inside and touching a guest is against company police.
The parents, who had left the child in the room by herself, are seeking $75,000 claiming Norwegian failed to properly vet Selvam before hiring him. The incident happened in February 2017 as they were leaving Miami
Selvam allegedly also admitted to touching the girl on the ‘buttocks and pubic region with his hand … while the minor was sleeping on the bed,’ according to the Miami Herald.
The FBI also obtained video surveillance that confirmed the victim’s timeline. The case went to trial and the crew member, however, was found not guilty.
In response, the family filed a civil lawsuit last week in Miami against Norwegian claiming the company did not properly vet Selvam before hiring him.
‘The child is distraught. The parents are really distraught and they are concerned,’ their attorney John Hickey told the Miami Herald.
The family is seeking in excess of $75,000 for emotional distress, bodily injury and medical expenses.
Norwegian has not responded to the lawsuit.