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Princess employee charged with sexual assault on ship

Crew member faces life sentence if convicted of alleged rape

Posted: March 11, 2009 1:17 a.m.
Updated: March 11, 2009 8:00 a.m.
The U.S. Attorney's Office charged a Princess Cruises crew member with aggravated sexual abuse Tuesday. If convicted, the charge could carry a life sentence.

The crew member, Jorge Manuel Teixeira, allegedly raped a 42-year-old woman aboard the ship Coral Princess on Saturday. FBI agents boarded the ship Monday to collect evidence and take Teixeira into custody, said Laura Eimiller, FBI spokeswoman.

The cruise ship the Coral Princess was on a 14-day Panama Canal trip between Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.

"The FBI has jurisdiction in crimes on the high seas," Eimiller said. That jurisdiction also applies to any cruise originating or ending in the U.S. or crimes involving U.S. citizens, she said.

Teixiera, a Portuguese national, and the victim, a U.S. citizen whose name is being withheld by federal authorities, met in the Bordeaux Dining Room on Saturday night for a drink, according to a federal affidavit obtained by The Signal.

Teixiera allegedly moved in to kiss and grope the victim, who resisted and said "no," according to the affidavit.

Teixiera allegedly forced the victim to perform oral sex on him. The victim tried to get up twice and Teixiera allegedly pushed her back down twice, the affidavit stated.

Following the allegation, Princess Cruises sealed off the area of the alleged assault, restricted the crew member to his quarters with a security posting, and provided medical assistance to the victim, according to a Princess Cruises statement.

FBI agents boarded the ship as soon as it entered port on Monday, Eimiller said. "(The FBI) sent our evidence response team and took a male crew member into custody," she said.

Teixiera is scheduled to appear at a detention hearing on Thursday.

Princess Cruises is headquartered in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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