U.S. attorney moves to dismiss case against Kentucky man accused of rape on cruise ship
Published: August 15, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - The United States Attorney's office has filed a motion to dismiss the sexual assault charge against Conner Layne, of Kentucky.
Lane was arrested by FBI agents in St. Thomas 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 encounter took place while the ship was in international waters earlier that day, according to court documents.
The motion requests the assault charge be dismissed "in the interest of justice without prejudice." The order to dismiss has not been granted yet.
In District Court on Wednesday, Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller said the order would be forwarded to Chief District Judge Curtis Gomez for consideration.
According to an affidavit written by FBI special agent Rafael Fernandez, the woman told Fernandez that she and Layne were having drinks in the ship's club 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.
Layne, who was 19 at the time of his arrest, was released from custody after posting a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond and was allowed to return home to Kentucky. He pleaded not guilty to the charge July 17.
Brian Bieber, an attorney who represents Layne, said he could not comment on the specific reasons for the dismissal.
"We are extremely pleased with the result," Bieber said. "We understand that prosecutors had several sensitive factors to consider and frankly balanced all of these in an appropriate fashion. Due to the confidential nature of the matter, commenting on specifics would be inappropriate."
- Contact Amanda Norris at 714-9104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.