Cruise ship employee innocent

A former cruise ship employee found not guilty last month of raping and kidnapping a co-worker is trying to get on with his life in New York City, said Clayton Sui.

Sui is the minister at Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center, where Mario Batiz-Alvarez, 45, was held from his arrest at the end of October to his acquittal last month.

Sui said Batiz-Alvarez is living in New York, though it would be hard for him to find a job because of the five-month gap in his employment record.

Sui also said he was concerned that Batiz-Alvarez’s reputation was damaged because of the press coverage of Batiz-Alvarez’s arrest and trial.

“He deserves to have his name cleared,” said Sui. “I work with these guys on a regular basis. When they are found not guilty, give them equal space in the newspaper.”

Batiz-Alvarez could not be reached for comment in New York.

Deputy Public Attorney John Calma, who represented Batiz-Alvarez, said after the trial that his client wished to thank the jury.

“He’s trying to get his name cleared,” Sui said. “Being in prison is one thing, but being found not guilty does not mean clear sailing from there on.”

The alleged offenses took place aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line vessel “Pride of America,” according to court records.

When the ship docked in Nawiliwili Harbor on a regular stop in October, Batiz-Alvarez was arrested by Kaua‘i Police Department officers, charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of kidnapping, and held on $40,000 bail.

After a four-day jury trial in Fifth Circuit Court, Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe acquitted Batiz-Alvarez of all charges.

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

• Cynthia Kaneshiro, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or ckaneshiro@kauaipubco.com.

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