Cruise worker admits raping, beating ship passenger, investigators say

A cruise worker has confessed to beating and raping a passenger in her stateroom over a purported slight, after which the worker tried to throw her overboard, federal investigators say.

Ketut Pujayasa, 28, an Indonesian citizen, was arrested and charged with the attack, which happened on a Holland America Line cruise ship that had departed from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Feb. 9 for a seven-day Caribbean cruise.

The victim, a 31-year-old American, was flown by air ambulance to south Florida, according to the Sun Sentinel newspaper, which obtained court records detailing Pujayasa's purported confession. Her condition was not clear, but the company said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that she had been "stabilized" in the ship's hospital before her evacuation.

Pujayasa, a room attendant, told FBI agents that he wanted to punish the woman for offending him and his parents by saying, "Wait a minute, son of a bitch!" when he knocked on her door, the documents said.

He waited until he went off duty, entered the woman's empty room and waited for her to return, then began choking and punching her, according to the documents.

Pujayasa also hit the woman with a laptop computer and a curling iron and tried to silence her by strangling her with a phone cord and a curling iron cord, the documents say.

He tried to throw the woman over the balcony of her room under cover of darkness, but someone began knocking on her door, the documents say, forcing him to flee without his pants, climbing from balcony to balcony to escape.

He later turned himself in to cruise officials and was held in detention until the ship returned to port Sunday. The cruise line flew the woman's family to be with her at the hospital.

Pujayasa was hired in 2012 after "a careful screening that included a clean criminal history check. He had no performance issues and came with good references," according to a statement the company provided to The Times.

He was charged with attempted murder and aggravated sexual abuse after being turned over to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

"While no words can adequately express our shock at this event, this has shaken the entire Holland America family to our very core," the company said in a statement. "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."

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