Princess Crewmember Accused of Sexual Assault

March 10, 2009
A Coral Princess crewmember was arrested yesterday on suspicion of sexual assault of a female passenger, according to media reports.

An official statement from Princess Cruises says that the passenger made the allegation against a member of the ship's crew on March 7, two days prior to the conclusion of the cruise in Los Angeles. Coral Princess was on a 14-night Panama Canal sailing between Ft. Lauderdale and Los Angeles.

"As soon as this allegation was brought to shipboard management's attention, the FBI was contacted, as is our standard practice," the statement reads. "Following the allegation, we also put into place our crime response protocol including sealing off the area of the alleged assault, restricting the crew member to his quarters with a security posting, and providing medical and other assistance to the passenger. We are fully cooperating with the authorities in this matter."

The FBI boarded the ship yesterday morning in Los Angeles to investigate the matter.

"I just got off the Coral Princess and I only heard about this a few minutes ago when a friend called me," cruiserjanet posts on the Princess forum. "I was completely stunned ... I assume that is why we were delayed an hour in disembarkation."

The ship sailed its next cruise as scheduled.

According to media reports, the suspect -- identified as 38-year-old Jorge Manuel Teixeira of Portugal by MSNBC -- is expected to make his first court appearance today, where he will face formal charges.

--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor