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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
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Man Tied to Saudi Prince Must Pay $2M to Rape Victim

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that an imprisoned member of Saudi Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd’s entourage must pay $2.25 million for drugging and raping a bartender in his room at New York’s Plaza Hotel.

(CN) – A federal judge ruled Tuesday that an imprisoned member of Saudi Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd’s entourage must pay $2.25 million for drugging and raping a bartender in his room at New York’s Plaza Hotel.

U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet awarded the Jane Doe rape victim $1.25 million in compensatory damages “in light of the disturbing specifics of this attack,” and $1 million in punitive damages.

“The sexual violence committed by the defendant undeniably constitutes morally reprehensible or utterly reckless behavior making a punitive damage award proper. Not only did the defendant physically and sexually abuse the plaintiff in the most violating way, but he shattered the plaintiff's emotional well-being,” Sweet wrote in a 22-page order. “The defendant’s conduct is made even more objectionable based on his belief that his relationship to the prince of Saudi Arabia would keep him out of the reach of the law.”

The perpetrator, defendant Mustapha Ouanes, was sentenced in 2012 to 10 years in prison for rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse, in Manhattan criminal court.

Saudi Oger Ltd., a global corporation, hired Ouanes for its VIP unit to modify the climate control system in the prince’s suite in the Plaza Hotel, according to Doe’s civil complaint.

Doe, one of Ouanes’ two victims, filed civil claims against Ouanes, His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd Al-Saud, and Saudi Oger Ltd.

On Jan. 26, 2010, Doe says, she finished the late shift at an East Village hookah bar where she worked, Habibi Lounge, and went bar-hopping with a friend, a 25-year-old New York University student.

She says she declined Ouanes’ offer of a drink at a Mediterranean restaurant called Veranda. But she says she accepted a round of champagne he bought for her group at the next stop, Midtown’s Falucka Lounge.

“He informed her that he was born in Algeria and worked for a Saudi Arabian prince,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff thought of him as a harmless old man.”

After 4:30 a.m., she says, Ouanes persuaded her and her friend to have breakfast at his suite at the Plaza Hotel, where he said he would order room service.

“Once they were seated at a table in the room and had ordered breakfast, defendant Mustafa Ouanes told plaintiff and Mary Doe that he had to go meet with the Prince,” the complaint states.

She says he returned to the room a few minutes later with “three Arab men, one of whom was clad in traditional Saudi garb,” who were “purportedly there to join them for breakfast.”

According to the complaint, one of them was the prince’s butler, who is not accused of wrongdoing.

“During breakfast, defendant Mustapha Ouanes boasted to plaintiff and her friend: ‘We have a yacht, we have planes, and we work with the son of a king,’” the complaint states.

Then, she claims, she noticed that the mimosas that they poured “looked strange.”

She said, “This orange juice looks funny,” according to the complaint.

At that point, she says, she lost consciousness and awakened to find her bra removed, tights and underpants pulled down to her ankles and Ouanes on top of her, raping her.

She says that several other employees of the prince joined in the attack against her and her friend, as they slipped in and out of consciousness.

When they woke up, “plaintiff Jane Doe broke a glass by the bed and held it up as a weapon. At the same time, Mary Doe struggled to dial 911 on the Plaza Hotel telephone. Defendant Mustapha Ouanes stared at the girls coldly, and said nonchalantly: ‘Go ahead, call the police. Do whatever you want,'” according to the complaint.

Police arrived later that morning and arrested Ouanes.

The women were taken to the emergency room of Roosevelt Hospital, where rape kits corroborated Jane Doe’s claims and even found fecal matter in her mouth.

She says she quit her job, moved in with her parents, attempted suicide, sought psychiatric treatment and continues to take medication to cope with the attacks.

Judge Sweet took Doe’s suffering into account when deciding his damages award.

“The ramifications for the plaintiff are life-long. Even after seven years the plaintiff continues to struggle. Ms. Doe suffers with PTSD, anxiety, and depression; has attempted suicide; has lost her job; medically withdrew from nursing school; and is haunted by the attack on a daily basis,” Sweet concluded his opinion.

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