A Florida man appeared before a judge on Monday to face charges he raped a transgender woman at a karaoke bar where he was employed as a security guard.
Luigi Andre Cavani, 25, was arrested and charged with sexual battery for the alleged assault that took place early Saturday morning, May 20, at the Sweet Caroline Karaoke Bar in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood. The unnamed victim, 31, told the City of Miami Police she had entered a bathroom alone around 2:30 a.m. when Cavani followed and forced her into a single stall.
“He pinned her against the wall and began to unbutton her pants,” local ABC affiliate WPLG reported the investigating officer wrote in the police report. “She stated she told him no and attempted to stop him. He continued and turned her over.”
The victim said she immediately told her friends who allegedly confronted Cavani.
“I’m sorry, I thought it was cool,” Cavani reportedly said in response.
The victim reported the alleged assault to authorities later that day. When police interviewed Cavani, he claimed the act was consensual. He said the victim had been kissing him and grabbing his genitals before they went into the bathroom to have sex.
“He stated they went by the bathrooms to a corner to make out and he touched her vagina over the clothing,” the investigating officer wrote in the report while noting the victim has yet to undergo gender-affirming surgery.
Once in the bathroom, he said pulled down the victim’s pants and raped her, according to the report. Only after the act was complete did he claim to hear her say no.
Sweet Caroline posted a statement to social media yesterday saying they just learned of the alleged assault and are cooperating with police. They noted Cavani was employed by an outsourced security company later identified as Aegis Unlimited, and that Sweet Caroline severed the contract effective immediately upon learning of the alleged incident.
“We are deeply saddened and disappointed that such an occurrence took place at Sweet Caroline, a venue that prides itself on being a safe and inclusive environment for all individuals,” Sweet Caroline posted to social media, later adding, “We take these claims very seriously and the safety of our patrons is our highest priority.”
Cavani currently faces a single charge of sexual battery. He is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center after Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ariel Rodriguez set his bail at $25,000.