Ketut Pujayasa

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[a] human shadow trying to kill me with his bare hands
~ Pujayasa's victim describes the start of her ordeal[1]
Ketut Pujayasa.jpg

Ketut Pujayasa is an Indonesian cruise ship crewman who raped and attempted to murder a passenger on a nudist cruise in 2014.


Pujayasa was an experienced crewman, hired by the Holland America cruise line in 2012 after supplying good references and passing criminal record vetting.[2] At he time of the attack he was 28 and working as a room service attendant.[3]

The incident occurred on Valentine's Day[3] during a nudist cruise aboard MS Nieuw Amsterdam,[4] with his victim a 32-year-old US woman who he claimed was rude to him.[2] Pujayasa said he felt he and his mother's honour were being insulted after he knocked upon the married woman's door with breakfast and she responded "Wait, son of a bitch!"[5][6] after he knocked three times.[1] This was the fifth day of the cruise with the vessel off the Honduras coast.[7]


Pujayasa spent hours on deck searching for the passenger intent on punching her in the face after the alleged slight, but changed his mind upon spotting her as there were other passengers nearby.[1] Instead, a full 17 hours after the remark, he used a master key to enter her room and fell asleep upon her balcony.[1] She was awakened by Pujayasa gripping her neck and punching her face.[7]

He attempted to strangle the victim with cords from the stateroom's telephone and the victim's curling iron,[3] bursting blood vessels in her face.[4] He also beat her with the curling iron and a laptop.[2] The victim was also bitten, and received brain damage and shifted teeth during the assault.[4] When she fell unconscious she was raped by Pujayasa,[3] with the entire attack lasting 30 to 60 minutes and described as torture by prosecutors.[1] Her spine, skull, and facial bones were fractured.[4]

The attack concluded with Pujayasa attempting to throw his victim overboard from the room's balcony; she used her strength and training as an acrobat and gymnast to cling on to the railing.[4] She stabbed him with a corkscrew and escaped.[2]

During the attack other passengers heard screams and dialled the US emergency number 911, but a lawyer for the victim claimed this rerouted the call to the front desk. The victim's lawyer further claimed it took 45 minutes for the front desk to respond and even then they could not access the room due to security not being with them.[6]

The victim was flown by air ambulance to South Florida.[7] Photos of the victims' face were released by her lawyer and showed severe and bloody injuries.[6]

Legal process

Pujayasa climbed from balcony to balcony to make his escape; the then confessed to a colleague who reported the matter, with Pujayasa spending the remainder of the voyage detained by security.[4] The FBI was waiting for him when the ship returned to Port Everglades, and he was arrested.[3]

In September 2014 Pujayasa entered a guilty plea to aggravated sexual assault and attempted murder.[2][4] He had previously pled not guilty, and changed his plea despite no plea bargain being offered.[7] This was a change from an earlier plea of not guilty.[7] He was sentenced to 30 years and 5 months in a federal prison in Texas[4] by US District Judge Jose Martinez.[1]

He won a subsequent appeal as this was harsh compared to sentencing guidelines which called for 14 to 17 1/2 years.[5] The case was sent back to Judge Martinez for resentencing as the initial judgement did not make clear the reasons for the heavy sentence; the same sentence was reimposed on the grounds of the brutality of the attack and the effect on the victim.[1] It was revealed in court the victim additionally developed PTSD and obsessive compulsion and requires round-the-clock supervision.[4]

At his resentencing hearing Pujayasa apologised, but reiterated that he became violent due to his fury at the apparently simple remark.[1] His lawyer noted that he was held in a notoriously violent prison and had been taking educational and anger management courses.[5] Following release he is to be deported to his native Indonesia and barred from returning.[1] He also faces a lifetime of supervised release.[2] The maximum available sentence was one of life imprisonment.[7]

The victim sued Holland America alleging negligence over Pujayasa's possession of a master key and the ship's telephone system.[6] The company settled out of court.[1]