A bartender on the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise cruise ship who was convicted on criminal charges after pocketing a room key and raping an unsuspecting passenger now faces a civil lawsuit from her cabin roommate who claims he raped her, too, and got her pregnant.
Hoobesh Kumar Dookhy, 24, pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact, reduced from harsher initial charges, when a passenger identified as HB in court documents sued Classica Cruise Operator Ltd for the May 2023 incident.
Her cabinmate, identified only as “Jane Doe” or “SE” in court documents, brought additional allegations against him in her complaint filed in West Palm Beach, Florida. Her attorney Spencer Aronfeld told the Sun Sentinel she waited to follow suit because she was still processing the alleged incident.
Dookhy was serving both women on May 5 during the ship’s cruise from the Port of Palm Beach to the Bahamas, according to the complaint.
HB recalled that she had been “pretty intoxicated” after reaching her 10 drink limit, and returned to their room around 1 a.m. Unbeknownst to her, the women claim, Dookhy had pocketed the key he had used to charge the drinks to her room.
Dookhy let himself into their room about an hour later, according to court documents:
“HB stated that she was sleeping when she was awakened by a male subject touching her breasts, kissing her neck and vaginally penetrating her,” reads the lawsuit.
Earlier, according to the new lawsuit, the other woman in the room had also awoken to Dookhy sexually assaulting her.
Dookhy and the women agree that he took his phone out to photograph the women, who slept naked, as he groped them. The woman filing a civil suit also claims that she took out her phone to videotape Dookhy sexually assaulting her friend for evidence after asking him to leave.
At the time, according to the complaint, the woman recalled in interviews with cruise ship security and FBI agents that her roommate was asleep during the assault, per the complaint.
SE awoke to Dookhy touching her face before she told him to stop, and he moved on to her friend, she initially told authorities. She believed Dookhy left the room. But according to the Washington Post, ship key card logs show that HB’s key – the one that had been stolen – was used to re-enter the room after about nine minutes.
HB’s misplaced room key was later recovered in Dookhy’s vest pocket, the suit alleges.
The precise nature of the sexual assault against the first woman is unclear. But allegedly, she discovered that she was pregnant several months later. Although she is married and did not take a paternity test, Aronfeld told the Sun Sentinel, she and her husband hadn’t been sexually active, for medical reasons, around the time of the assault.
The bartender, she realized, must be the father. Aronfeld said that the woman chose to abort the pregnancy. She traveled out of state and suffered medical complications after her procedure.
The woman is seeking $75,000 in damages from Margaritaville. The lawsuit comes two months after U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg struck down the first woman’s request to seek punitive damages from the cruise liner, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Dookhy admitted that he had been drinking that night, in his interview with FBI agents, the Washington Post reported. He initially claimed that his sex with HB had been consensual, before taking a plea deal to avoid life in prison in October, the Palm Beach outlet reported.
The bartender’s sentencing on criminal charges is scheduled for January 11, according to the outlet, and he could face up to two years in prison.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, he is currently incarcerated at FDC Miami.
Fox News Digital could not reach Dookhy’s attorney, Peter Birch, or the cruise company for comment at press time.
“Maybe he denies it,” Aronfeld told the Sun Sentinel. “I don’t know. But assuming this incident occurred as described, there really is no defense.”
Sexual assaults are the most commonly reported crime aboard cruise ships, according to Transportation Department data. There were 30 reported sexual assaults across 13 cruise lines with 21 victims naming other passengers as their attackers, according to cruise crime statistics released for the last three months of 2022.
More than 500 sexual assault reports were lodged by major cruise line passengers between 2010 and 2022, the Palm Beach Post reported.