LOS ANGELES – A cruise ship crew member from Portugal was charged Tuesday with sexually assaulting a female passenger after they shared wine during a 14-day cruise from Florida to Los Angeles, federal authorities said.
Jorge Teixeira was charged with aggravated sexual abuse. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.
A detention hearing was scheduled for Thursday. Teixeira remained in custody, with no bond set.
A message left by The Associated Press for the federal public defender's office was not immediately returned. A representative of Portugal's consulate who answered the phone Tuesday but declined to give his name said the office was not involved in the case.
Teixeira, 38, was arrested Monday as Princess Cruises' Coral Princess ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles, returning from a cruise through the Panama Canal.
The 42-year-old woman told FBI agents the she met Teixeira late Thursday in the ship's dining room where he worked as a head waiter. After sharing some wine, the woman claims Teixeira first tried to kiss her, then he sexually assaulted her, according to court documents.
Two other cruise employees came into the dining room, but were told to go away by Teixeira, court records show. It was unclear if either staffer saw anything.
The cruise line said it restricted the employee to his quarters until investigators boarded the ship Monday morning to investigate the woman's allegation.
"While this attack took place far from the borders of the United States, federal authorities have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes that take place on the high seas," said U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien.