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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 23, 2019

Defendant Who Committed Sexual Assault on Cruise Ship Sentenced to 36 Months in Custody

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – August 23, 2019

SAN DIEGO – Today in federal court Saul Clemente Monago, 31, of Utah, was sentenced by District Court Judge Dana M. Sabraw to 36 months in custody and one year of supervised release for a sexual assault on a cruise ship.  Defendant was also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment and to register as a sex offender in accordance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

The record reflects that on October 11, 2018, the Norwegian Pearl cruise ship was docked in Ensenada, Mexico for a port call. The female victim (J.C.) and her cabin-mates had gone ashore in Ensenada, after which she returned to her room and fell asleep fully clothed on her bed.  Shortly thereafter, J.C.’s cabin-mates returned to the cabin, accompanied by Defendant Saul Monago and two other men. Within minutes, everyone but J.C., who remained sleeping on the bed, and Defendant Monago left the cabin, and their departure was captured by a cruise ship security camera in the hallway outside the cabin. Shortly thereafter, J.C. woke up to Defendant, whom she never recalled having seen or met, laying on top of her, with his hand under her shorts and inside her underwear digitally penetrating her vagina with one or more fingers. J.C. pushed Defendant off while screaming, “No! Stop!” and ran into the hallway screaming for help, terrified at what was happening when she awoke.  A ship security officer heard the loud commotion and J.C. screaming, “help” and “he is trying to rape me.” He reported to the area and encountered J.C. and a female witness from a nearby cabin outside.  Upon entering J.C.’s cabin, the security officer saw Defendant lying on one of the beds, apparently intoxicated.  Defendant, who admitted his conduct, was escorted first to the ship’s medical office and then to the Security office.

On October 14, 2018, the Norwegian Pearl docked at the San Diego Port. FBI personnel boarded the ship to investigate the assault and agents interviewed Defendant. In the interview room, Defendant spontaneously admitted his behavior, claiming that he was drunk and not behaving like himself.   FBI Agents advised Defendant that he was under arrest, after which Defendant made additional spontaneous statements admitting his inappropriate actions.

The parties jointly recommended the statutory maximum term of imprisonment of 36 months, which will be followed by a one-year term of supervised release.

“As we are all becoming increasingly aware, sexual assaults of this nature can trigger long-term emotional trauma,” said U.S. Attorney Robert S. Brewer, Jr. “I hope this sentence brings closure, comfort and a measure of peace to the victim of this egregious act.”  U.S. Attorney Brewer commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaclyn Stahl and the team of federal agents and victim service specialists who handled this case “with diligence and sensitivity.”  

“This sentence is an important step in obtaining justice for the victim in this case,” said FBI Special Agent In Charge Scott Brunner. “Unfortunately, sexual assaults on cruise ships are one of the leading crimes reported to and investigated by the FBI on the high seas.  The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate and prosecute criminal offenses on the high seas.”

DEFENDANT                                               Case No. 18-CR-4849-DMS

Saul Clemente Monago                                  31, Utah

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

18 U.S.C. § 2244(a)(2)

Maximum Penalty: 36 months custody and 1 year supervised release

AGENCY

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaclyn Stahl (619) 546-8456
Press Release Number: 
CAS19-0823-Monago
Updated August 23, 2019