Kentucky man pleads not guilty to rape on Carnival cruise ship

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ST. THOMAS ­- A 19-year-old Kentucky man pleaded not guilty in District Court Wednesday to sexual assault with intent to commit a felony.

Conner Layne was arrested following an 18-year-old woman's complaint that he tried to rape her while on board the Carnival Dream.

The cruise ship docked at Havensight on June 4, but the alleged encounter took place while the ship was in international waters on the same date, according to court documents.

According to an affidavit written by FBI special agent Rafael Fernandez, an 18-year-old woman told Fernandez she and Layne were having drinks in the ship's club Tuesday when Layne invited her back to his room. Once there, she had another drink and sat on the bed, and she and Layne began kissing and Layne started "touching her about the body," according to the affidavit.

Layne then forcibly "held her down, pulled up her dress, pulled down her underwear and penetrated her with his penis," the victim told Fernandez.

The woman said that because Layne was intoxicated, she was able to push him off of her, and she ran out of the room, the affidavit states.

District Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller advised Layne of his rights June 5, and he was released from custody after posting a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond.

Layne has been allowed to return to his home in Kentucky but had to provide DNA samples as a condition of his release.

- Contact Amanda Norris at 714-9104 or email

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