Crime

‘Go back where you come from.’ That’s what woman said after groping couple on cruise, cops say

How you can help prevent sexual assaults

Here are some ways you can help prevent sexual assaults, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. The video "on sexual assault awareness and prevention in Isla Vista" also offers risk-reducti
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Here are some ways you can help prevent sexual assaults, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. The video "on sexual assault awareness and prevention in Isla Vista" also offers risk-reducti

Visitors aboard the Tarpon Springs Spongeorama dolphin cruise were promised a day of marine life sightseeing on the afternoon of July 19 but received a whole lot more for which they bargained.

Lisa Matteson’s odd behavior started immediately, witnesses said, as she was described as being unruly and intoxicated, but it only became more strange from there.

The boat’s captain told WFLA that Matteson, 58, began touching passengers in an inappropriate manner, beginning with a man’s wife. When the captain tried to intervene she turned around and groped the husband, as well.

Matteson allegedly grabbed the female victim’s buttocks twice and said, “Oh, it’s curved and nice” and “I would do you,” according to the New York Daily News.

As if that wasn’t strange enough, witnesses say Matteson then began a racist rant about the couple — from Saudi Arabia — “to go back where you came from,” according to Xanthi Zembillas, the cruise line’s ticket seller, who got the call that the boat was returning to dock due to what was happening.

The captain told police that the final straw was when Matteson touched another female passenger and when she was called into the wheelhouse to be warned yet again, then inappropriately touched the captain.

Tarpon Springs police were waiting when the boat returned and according to jail records, Matteson was booked into the Pinellas County jail on a simple battery charge.

According to WTSP, Matteson denied groping the woman and told police she didn’t remember anything and was confused as to why she was being arrested.

Just like many movements for equal rights in America, the path for women to seek recourse from sexual harassment has been through the courts. But grassroots activism in the 1970s opened the space for a nationwide conversation, and the Civil Rights

Breaking News/Real Time Reporter Mark Young began his career in 1996 and has been with the Bradenton Herald since 2014. He has won more than a dozen awards over the years, including the coveted Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting from the Florida Press Club and for beat reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists to name a few. His reporting experience is as diverse as the communities he covers.
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