Miami police have arrested a man for allegedly sexually assaulting a transgender woman inside a public bathroom.
Luigi Andre Cavani, 25, has been charged with sexual battery for an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 20.
Cavani had been working as a contracted security guard at Sweet Caroline Karaoke Bar, located in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood.
According to an arrest report from Miami police, the 31-year-old victim claims Cavani had come up to her near the bar’s DJ area earlier in the night and told her she “looked good.”
Around 2:30 a.m., she was heading toward the bathroom alone, when Cavani allegedly grabbed her hand and forcibly pulled her into a single-stall restroom. She claims he pinned her against the wall and began unbuttoning her pants, according to Miami-area FOX affiliate WSVN.
The report says the victim told him to stop, but he continued and turned her over, pulling down her pants and penetrating her. Eventually he stopped, and she was able to pull up her pants and leave the bathroom.
According to the police report, the woman and her friends later confronted Cavani, who reportedly responded, “I’m sorry, I thought it was cool,” to which the victim reportedly replied, “I kept on telling you no.”
The trans woman went to Miami police headquarters to file a police report.
Police later interviewed Cavani, who told officers he believed the encounter had been consensual, and sought to explain what had happened in the stall, claiming he would never force himself on anyone, according to Miami ABC affiliate WPLG.
According to the police report, Cavani said the pair went by the bathrooms to a corner to make out, at which point he began touching her through her clothing. He then took her to the bathroom, pulled down her pants and penetrated her.
“He stated he never heard her say anything but he did realize that there was a moment where she stood up, said no and pulled her pants up to leave,” the investigating officer wrote in the report.
Cavani reportedly told police he thought everything was “cool” because the victim was “kissing him” and touching his genitals. He said he “thought she wanted to have sex and it’s why he took her into the bathroom.”
Juan Marcos Rancaño, the bar’s co-founder and co-owner, told WSVN that Cavani worked for a security company that the bar subcontracted, but following the incident, severed ties with the company. He said the bar has been cooperating with police.
The bar later posted a statement to Facebook on Monday addressing the incident.
“Today, we learned about an incident that occurred in our establishment over the weekend. We are deeply saddened and disappointed that such an occurrence took place at Sweet Caroline, a venue that prides itself in being a safe and inclusive environment for all individuals,” the statement reads.
“The Sweet Carolina Karaoke Bar administration has been cooperating with the City of Miami Police in the arrest of a contracted security guard, who was providing services at our establishment Friday night, as part of our contract with the outsourced security company,” the statement continues. “As soon as we became aware of the incident, we took immediate action and severed our relationship with the company.
“We take these claims very seriously and the safety of our patrons is our highest priority,” the statement concluded.
According to court records, Cavani was released on a $25,000 bond and was ordered to avoid contact with the victim while released. He is next scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment hearing on June 20, at which point he is expected to enter a plea to the charge against him.
The attorney of record for Cavani was not immediately available for comment.
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