fisherman charged with sexual harassment of fisheries observer
Anchorage, Alaska — United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a Mexican citizen was arrested and charged with sexual harassment of a National Marine Fisheries Service observer while on board a vessel; forcible sexual assault of a National Marine Fisheries Service observer while on board a vessel; and, interference with a National Marine Fisheries Service observer while on board a vessel.
Victor D. Chavez-Ramirez, 28, a citizen of Mexico illegally in the United States, is charged in a three-count information.
On November 18, 2010, Chavez-Ramirez was arrested in Dutch Harbor by special agents of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for sexual harassment of a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) observer.
At the defendant’s arraignment on November 22, 2010, Assistant United States Attorney Steven
E. Skrocki alleged that while a crew member on the fishing vessel FV Frontier Spirit, from August 2008 through October 2008, Chavez-Ramirez sexually harassed and assaulted the NMFS observer assigned to the vessel and those acts interfered with the ability of the observer's ability to collect fisheries data.
During the arraignment proceedings, United States Magistrate Judge Deborah M. Smith denied bail and set trial for January 11, 2011, in Anchorage. Smith ordered that Chavez-Ramirez be detained due to his illegal immigration status and the fact that he had previously fled from a prior deportation matter in 2006 in Washington State.
The National Marine Fisheries Service with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation of this case.
An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.