Holland America Line Cruise Ship Worker Sexually Assaulted Woman in Room: FBI Officials

Ketut Pujayasa, 28, faces two federal charges, the FBI said

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A crewmember on a Holland America Line cruise ship has been arrested after he sexually assaulted a guest in her room last Friday, officials said Tuesday. (Published Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014)

    A crewmember on a Holland America Line cruise ship has been arrested after he sexually assaulted a guest in her room last Friday, FBI officials said Tuesday.

    Ketut Pujayasa, 28, who is an Indonesian citizen, was arrested when the MS Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship returned to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday morning, the FBI said in a statement.

    He faces federal charges of attempt to commit murder and aggravated sexual abuse after the alleged assault on the cruise ship, which took place on Valentine’s Day while the vessel was in international waters, the FBI said.

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    The victim, a 31-year-old American woman, was assaulted by him in her stateroom during Friday’s early morning hours, as the ship was on a seven-day western Caribbean charter cruise, Holland America Line said in a statement.

    In the FBI’s criminal complaint Pujayasa said that while he was delivering room service, he knocked three different times. He said the woman disrespected him and his parents by saying through the door “Wait a minute, son of a b----.” The staffer said he was furious for the rest of the day, according to the complaint.

    Pujayasa admitted to FBI agents that while he was off-duty he entered the woman’s room with his company-issued master key, and hid on the balcony waiting for her to return, the complaint said.

    He told agents that when the woman got into bed he immediately choked and punched her numerous times. She resisted and attempted to defend herself, but during the attack Pujayasa proceeded to strike her with a laptop and curling iron, and he tried to strangle the victim with a curling iron cord, the complaint said.

    The woman was able to fight off Pujayasa by stabbing him with a corkscrew, according to the complaint. She escaped and found another passenger in the hallway who offered her first aid.

    The woman was stabilized in the hospital on board. She disembarked the ship on Saturday in Roatan, Honduras, and was taken by air to a hospital in the U.S., according to the cruise line.

    “Holland America Line is continuing to provide full support to the guest and has flown her family to be with her while she receives treatment,” the company said.

    The FBI and other authorities were immediately notified about the incident, with Pujayasa placed under guard and the crime scene secured, Holland America Line said. Pujayasa has been fired, the company said.

    “We are terribly saddened by the senseless assault that took place on the MS Nieuw Amsterdam this past Friday, Feb. 14. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and her family during this difficult time,” Holland America Line said. “While no words can adequately express our shock at this event, this has shaken the entire Holland America family to our very core. We continue to work closely with authorities to understand how this incident occurred and what additional actions we can take to help ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

    Pujayasa is being held in the Broward County Main Jail, online jail records showed. It wasn't immediately known whether he has an attorney.

    Holland America Line said Pujayasa was hired in 2012 after careful screening that included a clean criminal history check. He had good references and no performance issues, the company said.

    “At Holland America Line, the safety of our guests is our highest priority, and we are shocked and deeply saddened by this incident,” President and CEO Stein Kruse said. “To our knowledge, no incident like this has occurred in our company's 140-year history.”