NEW YORK (PIX11)—Two friends who took a cruise to celebrate a birthday and escape the winter were instead imprisoned on a false rape allegation aboard the Royal Caribbean brig, despite the woman recanting her charge a day later.
David Anselem, 26 and Evi Mor, 22, decided to celebrate Evi's birthday by taking a cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean ship to Haiti and Jamaica. But after a few cocktails on the first night with two women they'd met from Connecticut, both men were yanked by security from their beds at 5 a.m. and thrown in the brig.
David spoke exclusively with PIX 11 News on camera about the whole bizarre tale. "We see these two girls, and we start to talk with them. Then after five or ten minutes, the girl turns to Evi and says, 'Let's go to your room.'"
David says the pair was gone for about ten minutes, when her friend says she, too, wanted to go to the room, and see her friend. On their way down, they bumped into them in the elevator. The friend wanted to continue on, said Anselem. So he took her to the stateroom, she used the bathroom, and they left.
"Did you have sex with them?" asked this reporter. The emphatic response came swiftly, "No. No."
But it was the men that later joined the group in the bar that set off alarm bells for Anselem, a veteran of the Israeli army. Two men grouped up at the bar, and immediately asked where Anselem and Mor were from. When they replied they grew up in Israel, and served in the Israeli army, the men identified themselves as being from Lebanon, and specifically of being from the group Hezbollah, a sworn enemy of the Israelis. And that's when things got nasty, according to Anselem.
The unidentified man spewed, "All the Jews should die. F*&k Israel! And I tell that to the security guard after we were being held, and he just ignores me." Anselem said he and Mor walked off, spent a few hours in the casino, and went to bed shortly after midnight.
But just hours later they were pulled from the beds by six security guards who had barged into their room without knocking. They yanked them from their beds, ordered them into Royal Caribbean shirts and shorts, and marched them off to the brig, through the engine room and crew's quarters. There were no explanations.
The men were held in the one bed room for the remainder of the cruise. As religious Jews, they had made arrangements for kosher food on the cruise, but were denied it in their cell, along with special items for prayers. Instead, a posted security guard ran his un-gloved hands through the vegetables that were delivered as meals looking for cutlery. The pair said they barely ate anything for days.
"I am so scared, I don't know what to think, I am shaking," recounts Anselem.
Attorney Paul Batista was blunt about Royal Caribbean's actions, "What they did was falsely arrest them, imprison them for six days under terrible conditions."
According to Anselem who recounted what Ft. Lauderale Sherrifs told him when they arrived back in the U.S., the woman who cried rape changed her story the next day after a doctor's exam showed she'd never been sexually assaulted at all. But inexplicably, still the men were held. Now they've filed a $20 million dollar lawsuit.
Batista said, There was no rape. There was no sexual contact. What royal Caribbean did was outrageous."
As for the investigation once the men arrived back on America's shores? Anselem said it took a few minutes. "The sheriff ask me a few questions, showed me some pictures of men and I pointed out the men who told me they were from Hezbollah. Then he tells me, 'The girl says nothing happened.'"
Royal Caribbean would only say "...a serious crime allegation was made against them by another guest. Our security personnel on board followed our established procedures."
But the woman from Connecticut who made the allegation? She was never identified by Royal Caribbean or the Sheriff's Department. She enjoyed a six day cruise in sunshine while the man she falsely accused and his friend were held in a hellish cabin to nowhere.