ORLANDO, Jan 8 (Reuters) - A former Holland America cruise ship attendant was sentenced to 30 years and five months in prison for the 2014 Valentine’s Day rape and attempted murder of a female passenger he tried to toss overboard, a federal prosecutor said on Thursday.
Ketut Pujayasa, 29, an Indonesian national who confessed in September, told the FBI he let himself into the then-31-year-old victim’s room with a master key and sexually assaulted her as punishment for what he took as an insult by her, according to court documents and the arrest affidavit.
The victim, identified only as CLW, tried to fight off Pujayasa in her stateroom and on her balcony. She managed to escape down the hall with the cord of a curling iron that he was using to strangle her still wrapped around her neck, according to the arrest affidavit.
She was airlifted back to the United States with skull, spine and facial fractures, a bruised kidney and other injuries. She suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, court records show.
The attack on Feb. 14 came five days into a cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean aboard Holland America’s MS Nieuw Amsterdam.
Pujayasa told FBI agents that he stayed angry at the victim all day after he knocked three times on her stateroom door trying to deliver her breakfast and heard her use a derogatory phrase which he said insulted his mother, according to the arrest affidavit.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer in the Southern District of Florida said in a statement Pujayasa was relentless in his attack, beating the woman with her laptop and other objects, choking her, trying to break her neck and strangling her with telephone and curling iron cords.
After she got away, the ship’s security cameras captured still images of Pujayasa, half naked, jumping from balcony to balcony to get away, according to the arrest affidavit.
Following the arrest, Holland America said in a statement that it had conducted a routine, pre-employment background check on Pujayasa that turned up no problems. The company also said it had terminated him.
Holland America, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp, released a second statement after Thursday’s announcement, saying that the company was relieved to see justice prevail and that its thoughts and prayers remain with the victim. (Editing by Eric Walsh)