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Press Release

New York Man Pleads Guilty to Assault Aboard Cruise Ship

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A New York man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston for assaulting a woman aboard a cruise ship.

Adam Damian Panetta, 45, of Farmingville, N.Y., pleaded guilty to one count of assault resulting in substantial bodily injury. U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin scheduled sentencing for Jan. 8, 2020. Panetta was arrested and charged in April 2019.

On April 25, 2019, while aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Gem, Panetta was observed on surveillance video pulling a woman by her hair down the full length of a hallway. The two were then observed outside of one of the cabins. While Panetta attempted to open the cabin door, the woman stuck Panetta in the face with an open hand. Panetta then turned toward the woman and punched her twice in the side of her head with a closed fist. The woman fell to the ground and appeared to be unconscious. Panetta entered the cabin and left the woman on the floor in the hallway.  After about one minute, Panetta came out of the cabin and leaned down to the woman, who was unresponsive. Eventually, the woman began to crawl into the room. Panetta did not appear to assist her, and as she began to crawl, Panetta kicked her twice in the buttocks. He then followed her into the room. 

The two left the room a short while later and the woman was holding a white towel over her head, which appeared to be stained with blood. The two arrived at the ship’s medical center where the woman was treated for her injuries, which included approximately 8cm of swelling on the right side of her head as well as a 2.5 cm laceration that required five stiches.

At the time of the alleged assault, the ship was approximately 200 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. Panetta was taken into custody when the ship arrived into the port of Boston.

The charge of assault resulting in substantial bodily injury provides a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Sullivan Jacobus of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

Updated September 27, 2019