Lawsuit: Carnival Cruise Lines Strip Searches Girl Looking For Pot

"Please remove your tampon, I have a job to do."

I have heard some weird and outrageous cruise ship stories over the years, but if this one is true it takes the cake.  

A lawsuit filed last month alleges that Carnival cruise employees suspected that a 17 year old girl on the Carnival Sensation possessed marijuana after she returned to the cruise ship after going ashore in Nassau. The lawsuit alleges that the girl had returned with her mother and a friend when a Carnival security officer found a bag of pot on the floor of the elevator that the group was riding on.  

Cruise Ship Drugs - Pot - Carnival SensationAccompanied by a female crew member and a male assistant housekeeping manager, the security officer entered the cabin of the girl and her friend, also a minor.  The security officer allegedly made no effort to locate the child's mother or advise the children of their rights, and then threatened and intimidated the girl into a confession that the weed in the bag was hers. 

The three crew members then searched the girls' cabin, and found no contraband or illegal substances.  Undaunted, the three crew members alleged "threatened, coerced, and required J.G. to remove her panties, lift her dress to her waist and expose her nakedness to all agents in the cabin."  Then things got especially weird.  The lawsuit alleges:

  • 41. J.G. was forcefully escorted to the restroom wherein all Defendant Agents were permitted to watch her urinate before returning her to the main area of the cabin.
  • 42. Without cause, the DEFENDANT AGENTS threatened, coerced and required J.G. to remove a tampon and her genital cavity was inspected visually by the female currently known only as LETICIA.
  • 43. This strip and cavity search took place in the plain view of male Security Officer TRAPA and male assistant housekeeping manager YUZON . . .

No additional pot was found, but the girl and her mother were reportedly escorted off of the ship where the Bahamian police placed the girl in a cell with adults where the child was allegedly assaulted. The lawsuit alleges that after the girl was released, she and her mom had to locate their own accommodations and travel arrangements home.   

Courthouse News Services uploaded a copy of the lawsuit papers here.

The girl's lawyer sued on grounds of negligence, fraud, intentional infliction of severe emotional distress and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

This type of lawsuit comes at the wrong time for Carnival which is still suffering from the fall-out of the Costa Concordia disaster and the Costa Allegra cruise ship fire.

There are two sides of every story, and I can't wait to hear Carnival's side.  I hope it's not "we can't comment on matters in litigation but rest assured the safety and security of our guests are our highest priorities."

I asked Carnival for a comment and will publish it as soon as I receive it.

 

April 4, 2012 Update:  Here's Carnival's response in its entirety:

Carnival does not typically comment on pending litigation, but feels compelled to do so given the far-fetched claims made in this lawsuit. The claim that the plaintiff was strip searched is patently false, and obviously made in retaliation for the cruise line having disembarked the plaintiff and her mother part-way through the voyage in Nassau where the plaintiff was taken into custody by the Bahamian police.

 

Hat tip to Miami New Times which has also blogged about this story.

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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Louise Horton - April 5, 2012 9:01 AM

I can't believe that I am "Shocked" at this story. Considering the behavior of past behavior of crew members, I shouldn't be surprised. Will cruise lines ever do a better job in checking out who they hire and do a better job training those they do????

Toniann - April 24, 2012 12:53 PM

This is the most disgusting and inexcusable behavior I have ever heard about from a crew member. HORRIFYING STORY!

Larry Baty - June 30, 2012 1:05 AM

I don't believe the story at all. If I had to sit on a jury and decide from the posting it would be for the defendant. It sounds like they were mad and I think about what I would do in that same situation, I would make up a story to sue them for
It.

Papa Zapata - September 30, 2012 12:50 AM

Shocked! We should leglize Mary Jane so situations like this don't happen. The girl in question should stick to her story and collect no less than $20,000,000. All crew members involved should serve No less than 10yrs in a state correctional facility.

Get up! Stand up! Stand up for your rights Get up! Stand Up! don't give up the fight.

laurie - March 10, 2013 4:31 PM

The way things have been going for Carnival lately I bet this did happen... I know if she was my daughter I would not drop this until It was resolved to my satifaction what ever that would be. How dare them treat some one that way..They need to hire employees with more integrity.

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