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A Margaritaville cruise bartender accused of sneaking into a passenger’s room and sexually assaulting two women has avoided a lifelong brand as a sex offender, and was sentenced to just two years in prison.

Hoobesh Kumar Dookhy, who is in his 20s, pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact in a deal with prosecutors last October, avoiding potential life in prison on a federal sexual abuse charge, according to the Palm Beach Post

At his most recent court appearance, Dookhy’s attorney, Assistant U.S. Public Defender Peter Birch, argued for an even lighter prison sentence, saying that the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise bartender’s victim in May 2023 was dressed “very” scantily and “had no desire to escape” from the alleged encounter, the Palm Beach Post reported. 

MARGARITAVILLE CRUISE BARTENDER ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING TWO WOMEN IN CABIN, IMPREGNATING ONE

The lawsuit, filed in West Palm Beach, Florida, is the second against Classica’s Margaritaville at Sea cruise line stemming from a May 5, 2023, incident in which a staff member allegedly snuck into a room with a stolen key card and sexually assaulted two women inside.  (USA Today Network)

Spencer Aronfeld, an attorney representing one of the women in a civil lawsuit stemming from the case, said the argument was “just vile.” 

“It’s so misogynistic that I’m angered and creeped out at the same time,” Aronfeld told the Palm Beach Post. 

Also unmoved by the argument, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon sided with prosecutors and sentenced Dookhy to one more year than advised by sentencing guidelines. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Ralston called the crewmember’s behavior “egregious” in a written motion to the judge arguing against Dookhy’s claims that one of the women had given him their room key of her own volition.

The two women said that Dookhy pocketed their room key they used to charge drinks to their room before sneaking into their cabin on May 5 hours after the cruise set sail from the Port of Palm Beach while they slept. 

Identified only as SE, one of the women said she awoke to Dookhy touching her face before she told him to stop, according to one of the women’s lawsuits against the ship and its parent corporation, Classica Cruise Line. 

DISNEY CRUISE WORKER ALLEGEDLY WATCHED CHILD PORNOGRAPHY WHILE ON SHIP, ADMITS ‘BAD FOR RELIGION’: REPORT

Cruise ship

After reaching her 10 drink limit, one of the women returned to her room exhausted. Unbeknownst to her, bartender Hoobesh Dookhy had pocketed her room key card he had used to charge drinks to her account. Pictured is a public lounging area on one of the Margaritaville cruise line ships.  (USA Today Network)

SE allegedly discovered she was pregnant several months later and suffered complications after having an abortion. She is seeking $75,000 in damages, according to her lawsuit. 

The other woman, identified as HB, “was awakened by a male subject touching her breasts, kissing her neck and vaginally penetrating her,” per the lawsuit. 

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. 

The women’s room key and photos of the women taken on his phone were found the morning after the assault. 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 a potential sentence of life in prison in October, the Palm Beach outlet reported. 

Fox News Digital could not reach Dookhy’s attorney, Birch or the cruise company for comment at press time. 

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES SECURITY GUARD ‘USED HIS SIZE AND STRENGTH’ AND ATTACKED PASSENGER: LAWSUIT

Cruise ship

According to Transportation Department data, sexual assaults are the most frequently reported crimes on cruise ships, with 30 victims filing reports of alleged sexual assault in the last three months of 2022.  (USA Today Network)

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Dookhy is currently incarcerated at FDC Miami. 

He is scheduled to be released before his 28th birthday, according to the Palm Beach Post, and will have five years of post-release supervision. He will not have to register as a sex offender, the outlet reported.

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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. 



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