MIAMI — A legal guardian has filed suit against a cruise line and an employee for the allegedly sexual assault and battery the employee supposedly inflicted upon the guardian's 12-year-old granddaughter. 

A legal guardian filed the complaint Sept. 12 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, against MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., MSC Crociere SA and Rudy Samuel Santos Hernandez, alleging that they violated the International Safety Management Code by failing to protect passengers from sexual assault and battery.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on Feb. 14, 2016, he and his 12-year-old granddaughter were aboard MSC Cruises for a seven-night Caribbean cruise. Defendant Hernandez allegedly took advantage of the situation as he observed the minor enter the empty cabin, which she shared with her grandfather, legal guardian and plaintiff. The defendant then supposedly used his service key to enter the room where he sexually assaulted and physically battered the minor. As a result, the minor suffered injuries to her body and extremities, pain and suffering, mental anguish, great shame, psychological trauma and scarring, humiliation, aggravation of pre-existing conditions, loss of the capacity for enjoyment of life and has incurred medical expenses and lost the benefit of her vacation. 

The plaintiff holds MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., MSC Crociere SA and Rudy Samuel Santos Hernandez responsible because the defendants allegedly failed to provide safe conditions for passengers, failed to monitor the conduct of its crew, failed to provide adequate supervision and security for minor passengers and failed to enforce policies designed to prevent harm to passengers.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks demands judgment for compensatory damages, interest, costs and as well as any further relief as the court deems just. He is represented by Carol L. Finklehoffe and Jason R. Margulies of Lipcon Margulies Alsina & Winkleman PA in Miami.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, case number 1:16-cv-23899

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