An Italian cruisegoer accused of raping a 17-year-old girl has been released from custody after a Spanish judge determined she couldn’t hear the case because the reported crime had occurred in international waters.
According to The Independent, the 18-year-old male suspect was arrested in Valencia after the victim, a British resident, told Spanish police that the man had forced her into a cabin and sexually assaulted her. The alleged assault occurred Thursday on the MSC Divina, which is registered to Panama, as it sailed through the Mediterranian to Palma.
According to Newsweek, the teen victim was examined at a Valencia hospital and DNA testing was conducted in the cabin where the sexual assault reportedly occurred. The victim and her parents reportedly continued on the cruise Thursday afternoon while the suspect was removed from the ship.
Newsweek noted that the Divina, managed by MSC Cruises, is on a 27-day cruise across Europe.
The Independent reported that, due to a 2009 reform in existing law, Spanish prosecutors could only try international crimes if the suspects or victims lived in Spain. As a result, the judge threw out the case and recommended it be picked up in Panama, Britain or Italy.
Speaking with the outlet, an MSC Cruises spokesperson declined to provide additional information about the incident due to an ongoing investigation.
“Within this context, our company is fully cooperating with the authorities overseeing this investigation, but is not itself in any way subject to it,” they said.
[Featured image: Pexels]