Jury trial set today in cruise-ship rape case

A jury trial is scheduled to begin today for a cruise-ship employee accused of kidnapping and raping another cruise-ship employee.

Mario Batiz-Alvarez faces one count of kidnapping, and four counts of sexually assaulting a coworker.

The alleged offenses took place aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line Pride of America. Batiz-Alvarez was arrested by Kaua’i Police Department officers when the ship docked at Nawiliwili Harbor on a regular stop last year.

Batiz-Alvarez, 44, of Seattle, is in custody on $40,000 bail.

The accuser, 21, lives in Oregon.

According to court records, Batiz-Alvarez is from Honduras, Central America, and became a U.S. citizen about three years ago.

Batiz-Alvarez pleaded not guilty to the felony offenses in October before Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe.

During the arraignment hearing, state Deputy Public Defender John Calma pointed out that English is a second language for Batiz-Alvarez.

Calma asked that an interpreter be provided for Batiz-Alvarez for his jury trial.

According to court records, the alleged accuser told KPD investigators that she resisted Batiz-Alvarez. She also told the investigators that she was afraid to tell anyone because Batiz-Alvarez would find out and hurt her.

Court records show that Batiz-Alvarez understood English. He told KPD investigators that the sex between them was consensual, and that she was a “willing partner.”

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