Lawsuit accusing Royal Caribbean of negligence in teenager's rape can proceed, appeals court determines

A lawsuit accusing Royal Caribbean of negligence in helping to prevent the rape of an underage girl on a 2015 cruise can proceed, an appellate court has ruled.

The suit, originally filed in 2017, was initially dismissed by a judge in Miami, per the Miami Herald. On Wednesday, an appeals court overturned the ruling, saying the plaintiff sufficiently alleged that Royal Caribbean breached its “duty of care” to the woman, identified in court documents as K.T., resulting in her being “brutalized and gang raped.”

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K.T. has said the incident took place aboard the Oasis of the Seas in December 2015, when she was 15 years old. She alleges that several adult men brought her multiple alcoholic beverages, providing them to her in public areas of the ship, to the point where she became “obviously drunk, disoriented, and unstable.”

She claimed they then walked her “to a cabin where they brutally assaulted and gang raped her,” per the appellate court documents cited by USA Today.

K.T. further alleged that, prior to the cabin, the incident took place in view of Royal Caribbean employees and security cameras.

The victim alleges the 2015 incident took place in view of Royal Caribbean employees and security cameras.

The victim alleges the 2015 incident took place in view of Royal Caribbean employees and security cameras. (iStock)

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“In sum, the complaint has sufficiently alleged that because Royal Caribbean’s crewmembers did nothing to prevent the large group of men from plying K.T. with enough alcohol to incapacitate her and did nothing to stop those men from leading her away to a private cabin, Royal Caribbean breached the duty of ordinary care it owed her,” the court determined.

The court also noted that 66 reported cases of sexual assault on U.S.-based cruises were reported between 2010 and September 2015, with “at least 20” of those reported on Royal Caribbean cruise liners, supporting the victim’s allegations that the company was aware of such “serious problems.”

K.T. had not initially disclosed the incident to Royal Caribbean, but sometime afterward to a psychologist, according to the woman's lawyer, Carol Finklehoff.

“This has had a life-altering effect on the course of her life requiring a lot of in-patient care,” said Finklehoffe, per the Miami Herald. “To this day she still struggles to move forward with her life.”

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Royal Caribbean was not able to provide a comment on the litigation, but said in an emailed message to Fox News that it is taking the allegation very seriously.

“The safety and security of our guests is our top priority,” a representative for the cruise line wrote.