Crewmember Receives More than $70 Million in Yacht Rape Case

30 January 2018

According to the Sun Sentinel, a woman received nearly $70.6 million in damages on Monday after suing the owner of 130-foot M/Y Endless Summer, where she was raped on board while it was docked at Universal Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale.

The incident occurred on February 25, 2015. The yacht’s deckhand, Rafael Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki, sexually assaulted the victim, who worked as a stewardess for the company that owned the yacht, Island Girl Ltd. Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki allegedly returned to the yacht after a night of drinking and pushed his way into a stateroom, forcing the woman to have sex with him against her will and threatening to kill her otherwise. He was charged with four counts of sexual battery, ultimately pleading guilty in December 2016 and serving a two-year sentence.

The Sun Sentinel reports that the lawsuit alleged that Island Girl failed to provide proper security for her, as the onboard communications systems weren’t working and the project manager was two decks above her, leaving her unable to communicate her need for help. According to the Daily Business Review, the company provided no radio for the crew and while they had a policy prohibiting intoxicated crewmembers from returning to the yacht, no one was on board to enforce it.

Following a six-day jury trial, the woman was awarded $70,000 in lost wages, $4.2 million in lost future earnings, and $66 million for pain and suffering, in addition to $290,050 for past and future medical expenses.