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Around the state

Carnival Cruise employee arrested on sex charge

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 8, 2003

FORT LAUDERDALE -- A Carnival Cruise Line employee was held without bail Friday on charges he raped a passenger aboard the Legend as it neared Port Everglades.

Made Wirawan, a 24-year-old native of Indonesia, was charged with sexual battery and burglary with assault or battery, Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said.

A 28-year-old woman said a man entered her cabin while she was sleeping early Thursday and raped her. The Legend, returning from an eight-day Caribbean cruise, was 7 miles out at sea.

After reporting the attack to Carnival security personnel, the woman was able to identify Wirawan as the attacker, police said. Wirawan allegedly used a master key card to enter her room.

The woman, who lives out-of-state, was taken to the Sexual Assault Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale for tests.

Jennifer de la Cruz, a spokeswoman for the cruise line, would not comment on the case.

Flight attendant loses smoke illness claim

MIAMI -- A jury on Friday rejected a claim for damages from a flight attendant who blamed secondhand smoke in airliners for aggravating his lung disease.

The compensatory damages trial on the claim by San Francisco-based United Airlines attendant James A. Seal was the sixth to go to a jury under a 1997 settlement with the nation's nonsmoking attendants. Tobacco companies have won all but one of the cases.

Under a 1997 Miami class action settlement, attendants received no money. Four cigarettemakers agreed to fund a $300-million medical foundation and were left facing compensatory damages claims by individual attendants.

"The evidence presented . . . made it clear that exposure to secondhand smoke did not cause Mr. Seal's problems," said Brown & Williamson attorney Gareth Cooper after Friday's verdict.

Philip Gerson, attorney for Seals, said he was disappointed with the outcome but gratified that the jury did conclude that secondhand smoke aggravates asthma.

Elsewhere . . .

PLANE CRASH KILLS 3: A plane from Ormond Beach bound for Bennettsville, S.C., crashed into a wooded area near Florence, S.C., killing all three people aboard Thursday night. The pilot had reported difficulties with cloudy conditions. The victims' identities were not immediately available.

TWO WOMEN'S BODIES FOUND: Investigators suspect foul play in the deaths of two young women whose bodies were found at a northeast Jacksonville construction site Wednesday. Jovanna Jefferson, 17, was reported missing Jan. 20, and Surita Ann Cohen, 19, was reported missing 10 days later. Medical examiners are trying to determine how and when they died. Police found another woman's body in the area in December.

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