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Cruise ship waiter pleads not guilty

March 31, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A cruise ship waiter accused of sexually assaulting a passenger pleaded not guilty on Monday.Jorge Teixeira, 38 of Portugal, was arrested earlier this month when the Princess Cruise Lines ship docked in San Pedro.

During his arraignment hearing on Monday, Teixeira pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual assault. His trial has been set for May 5, and he remains in jail without bond.

At a bail hearing earlier this month, Teixeira was deemed a flight risk and ordered held until trial.

The incident began when a female passenger said she agreed to meet Teixeira for a drink one night at sea on March 5.

At some point, she said the headwaiter forced her to perform a sex act and attacked her, according to an FBI agent's 17-page affidavit.

Teixeira, who has worked on cruise ships for 18 years, denied attacking the woman, but admitted that after meeting with her, he touched her leg and "another part" of her body as they left the table.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Stephen D. Demik said the passenger's statements only raise questions, describing Teixeira as a "family man" with two children in Portugal and no history of violence.

Teixeira could face life in prison if he's convicted.


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