A New York man yesterday admitted sexually assaulting a teenage girl on the cruise ship the Norwegian Dawn while he was at dinner with his wife and son. James Arismends, a 53-year-old insurance salesman, was fined $5,000 after he was accused of inappropriately touching the 18-year-old with his foot under a dinner table. The father-of-two pleaded guilty to sexual assault when he appeared at Magistrates' Court, but insisted he was only resting his foot on the girl's knee and had no idea it was making her uncomfortable. Crown counsel Robert Welling said that Arismends met the victim and her family at Tobacco Bay on June 23 and after returning to the cruise ship, the families agreed to have dinner together. During the meal, Arismends foot started to touch the victim's leg. Mr. Welling said: "At that point, she thought it was an accident. When it happened again, she apologised. It happened again, and so she said she gave him a look. "The defendant then slid down his chair, and began to feel her legs with his foot. She crossed her legs to discourage him, but he tried to use his feet to pry open her legs." Mr. Welling said Arismends had his arms around his wife and son. The victim left the table during dessert and told Police that she returned to her room feeling violated and cried. Mr. Welling said Arismends later called the victim in her room to apologise, saying, "that was crazy," and giggling. Kenneth Savoury, representing Arismends, said that his client was remorseful and had no idea that the victim was feeling uncomfortable. "He rested his foot on her knee," he said. "Perhaps he left it there a bit long, but he was under the impression she was comfortable with it at the time. It is very uncharacteristic of him, and he wants to put it behind him." Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner fined Arismends $5,000, saying: "It can't be put down to just an accidental rubbing of the foot. It was not just resting, it was deliberate and prolonged."
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