Royal Caribbean Passenger Alleges Sexual Assault During Sailing Excursion in St. Kitts & Nevis

A newspaper in St. Kitts & Nevis, the Observer, reports that police are investigating a sexual assault involving a cruise ship passenger visiting the island last week. on Tuesday.

The newspaper states that the local  police confirmed that a report had been made by a female cruise passenger that she was sexually assaulted while aboard a catamaran tour. The woman was a passenger aboard Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas cruise ship, which had docked at Port Zante earlier that morning.  According to the Observer:

" . . . the alleged incident took place in the bathroom of the catamaran while it was docked in Nevis. Information received was that the female reported the incident when the vessel returned to St. Kitts at the end of the tour; the young woman was aboard the catamaran with a family member. Police Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas - St. Kitts confirmed that she was taken to JNF Hospital where she underwent several routine tests for sexual assault reports."

The following day, the police issued a public statement stating:

"The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force take all claims of sexual assault very seriously. All claims of sexual assault are investigated and if substantiated, charges are filed against the suspects and arrests are made. So serious is the resolve of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force to combat offenses of sexual assault in the Federation, a Special Victims Unit (SVU) was created and staffed with investigators who were trained in both the United States and Canada. Based on the investigation conducted, and information presented by the reporter, there is no physical evidence to substantiate her allegation of a sexual assault. The investigation continues."

It appears unusual for a police department to quickly issue a public statement conveying information from a rape kit analysis in the middle of an alleged investigation.  It makes you wonder if the local police are acting as spokespeople for the tourism bureau.  Part of the problem with rapes during cruises is how quickly the cruise lines and local authorities deny they occur in the interest of protecting their reputations.

The newspaper does not identify the name of the excursion company, the name of the catamaran, or whether this was an excursion sponsored by Royal Caribbean.  The cruise line has a catamaran excursion which you can see here, although it is not clear whether the incident involved this excursion. 

The risk of sexual assault during cruises is real, both on the cruise ships, during water excursions, and ashore.  We have represented young women sexually assaulted during snorkeling and diving excursions as well as in ports of call.    

 

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Joe Wilkin - April 14, 2012 9:11 AM

You too have not identified which ports of call where yiur clients were allegedly raped.

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