A Florida woman has won $70.6 million in damages after alleging that a Polish immigrant working as a crewman raped her three years ago on a luxury yacht. The rapist was later deported.
The attack reportedly took place in February 2015 aboard a yacht named the Endless Summer, which then sat in a slip at the Universal Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale.
According to the Sun Sentinel at the time, the suspect was Polish immigrant Rafal Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki, who was arrested and charged with sexual battery.
Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki, a crewman on the yacht, had returned to the boat in a drunken state and pounded on the victim’s stateroom door until she let him into the room. He then forced himself on her and raped her, a police report said.
The suspect reportedly admitted he had rough sex with the victim but insisted it was consensual.
Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki was later convicted of the rape and served a two-year prison sentence, which began in 2016. As soon as his sentence was finished, the U.S. Department of Immigration deported him to Poland.
The victim, who also worked as a crewmember on the boat, sued the company that owns the yacht, alleging the company put her in danger.
The victim’s lawyer, Brad Edwards, said she screamed during the attack but received no help.
According to the Sun Sentinel, “The jury awarded the woman $70,000 in lost wages, $4.2 million in lost future earnings and $66 million for pain and suffering. She was also awarded $290,050 in past and future medical expenses.”
Edwards said his client is still haunted by the attack and “sleeps with the lights on and a machete and baseball bat at her side.” He added, “This is not something she’s going to get over anytime soon.”
The Endless Summer is now berthed at a different Fort Lauderdale marina, and the company that owns the boat has not issued a statement concerning the lawsuit.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.