Filipina cries rape on cruise ship

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06:05 AM June 12th, 2013

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By: Tina G. Santos, June 12th, 2013 06:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines—A Filipino woman working on a cruise ship has accused her Indian superiors of raping her.

In a letter to the Inquirer, the lawyer of the 32-year-old victim, Pedro Linsangan, said his client was raped on board the MV Costa Classica, an Italian-flagged vessel owned by Costa Crociere, in February last year.

The victim worked as a security guard on the cruise ship.

Linsangan said the suspects were two Indian nationals identified as Joseph Chacko and Anoop Palatty, chief security officer and assistant security officer, respectively, of the liner.

In her affidavit, the victim said she was on duty patrolling the ship’s crew area at around 11 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2012, when the ship-in-charge security officer, Mohammed Riyaz, told her to report to the security office.

The victim, whose identity was withheld, obeyed and found the two suspects in the office drinking liquor.

Indecent advances

She said that, initially, Palatty made indecent advances, but she was able to leave the room.

Before midnight, she said she was summoned again, this time to Chacko’s cabin. She went thinking it was official business.

She said she was surprised to find the two officers there still drinking.

The suspects initially discussed with her security procedures and a coming staff evaluation, the victim said, adding that she was told she would be rehired “because Chacko likes me and it is important that I make Chacko happy.”

The victim said Chacko sexually abused her as soon as Palatty left the cabin.

The victim said she tried to resist but she was overpowered by the suspect.

She said she reported the incident to the ship captain, Italian Pierre Paulo Gallastroni, who told her to make a statement.

The captain assured her he would notify the company head office in Genoa, Italy, about the incident, the victim added.

Linsangan said the victim also reported the crime to the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong where she filed her complaint.

Culprits escaped

“She submitted her written affidavit before a Philippine consular official. She was medically and physically examined by the Hong Kong officer,” the lawyer said.

The two culprits, however, were able to disembark in Hong Kong and escape before Hong Kong police could begin their investigation of the incident.

Linsangan said he forwarded the complaint to a collaborating lawyer in Rome, Italy. He said a complaint for damages was also filed in Genoa, Italy, where the judge has scheduled the trial for June 18.

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