The world's largest cruise ship was the location for two shipboard rapes during a 10 day Christmas and New Year cruise which returned to South Florida yesterday.
The first reported incident occurred on the last night of the cruise and has been reported by several local news stations. It involved a 15 year old girl who was lured from a cruise line teen club under false pretenses back to a passenger cabin and then sexually assaulted by a 20 year old man and another 15 year old boy.
The alleged assailants are two Brazilian passengers who were sailing aboard Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, which is based on Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
According to the Broward County's Sheriff's Office, the 15 year old girl was at the cruise ship's teen club called "Fuel" when a 15 year old boy told her he was having a party in his room. The young girl, who was vacationing with her family, was led to believe that she would meet friends there. However, after entering entering the cabin, she was confronted by an older passenger, Luiz Scavone, age 20. His full name is Luiz Antônio Scavone Neto.
The Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) said that Scavone and the 15 year old boy prevented her from leaving, removed her clothing, forced oral sex, and then both raped her. "The victim told them 'no' several times and tried to leave but was not able to," according to the BSO.
Scavone and the 15-year-old boy have been charged with "lewd and lascivious battery." Scavone is in jail in Fort Lauderdale. His Broward County Sheriff's mugshot is to the left.
A judge in Broward County ordered Scavone to relinquish his Brazilian passport. According to CBS Channel 4, the judge stated that if the immigration hold is lifted, and Scavone is released on bond, he must be fitted with a GPS monitor and is barred from applying for a replacement passport. The judge cited the case of a Boynton Beach police officer who fled to Brazil last July using a replacement passport after he was indicted on a drug charge. The U.S. used to have an extradition treaty with Brazil for decades, however Brazil now prohibits its citizens from being extradited to other other countries to face criminal charges.
The second incident occurred in the early morning hours of January 1, 2012. It also involved a Brazilian passenger, believed to be in his 40's, who sexually harassed and then sexually assaulted and battered an U.S. college student. The young woman was treated in the ship infirmary and underwent a rape examination. Unlike the incident involving the 15 year old victim where the assailants were arrested, the Brazilian man was released by the FBI and the Broward Sheriff's Office. He returned to Brazil and cannot be extradited.
This incident has not been reported in the media. Royal Caribbean has not issued a statement regarding the second allegation of sexual assault.
Issues to consider:
These incidents raise questions regarding the adequacy of the security aboard the world's largest cruise ship. The Allure and its sister cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas, can carry 6,500 passengers. Both ships are essentially small cities with no police force. We have been critical of Royal Caribbean's refusal to employ a sufficient number of security guards on its cruise ships and its refusal to monitor closed circuit television cameras to respond to potential criminal activities.
A year ago, the Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain and President Adam Goldstein were aboard the Allure's sister ship with microphone in hand and supposedly open for all questions. But they refused to provide any information about the safety and security of the passengers. Certainly U.S. passengers who pay thousands of dollars each to sail on this mega-target of a ship deserve straight forward answers whether their families will be safe from crime. Here are the questions which I posted on my blog which remain unanswered:
"Q: The LA Times reported that for a period of 32 months, there were over 250 incidents of sexual assault, battery, and sexual harassment against guests and crew members on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. In light of these problems, how many security guards are employed on the Genesis class of cruise ships?
Q: How many security guards are assigned to the seven "neighborhoods" on the cruise ships? Are there security "sub-stations" in each of the neighborhoods?
Q: How many security guards patrol the neighborhoods from 10:00 p.m. to 4 a.m., a time period we have found when female passengers are at a higher risk of being assaulted? (Both of the alleged rapes this week occurred in the early morning hours when Royal Caribbean has virtually no guard patrolling).
Over a year ago, I also asked the question:
Has Royal Caribbean invested adequately into safety and security technologies and personnel to protect you and your family? The cruise line executives will never tell, but we shall soon find out."
January 10, 2012 Update: Alleged Cruise Ship Rapists From Brazil Seek Low Bond
Top: Broward Sheriff's Office via Mugshots Online
Bottom: Royal Caribbean Cruises via Cruise Critic