USA TODAY's "Best Cruise Ships For Infants & Toddlers" Misses the Boat

USA TODAY published an article today entitled "Baby on board: Best cruise ships for infants, toddlers." 

Like most USA TODAY articles, it was mostly a "puff piece," trying hard to praise all of the cruise lines while writing nothing provocative or controversial.

The article picked four Disney cruise ships, three Royal Caribbean ships, two Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ships and one ship from Cunard.

The factors for being the best were not identified. The article mentioned things like providing baby Cruise Ship Kids formula, diapers, organic baby food, cribs, high chairs, booster seats and strollers.

But are these really the issues that parents of minors should be worried about? 

The articles doesn't mention serious issues that parents should be concerned with - like minors drowning in swimming pools without lifeguards or little kids being molested by predator crew members or perverted passengers.

Swimming Pools Without Lifeguards:

Disney is the only cruise line that assigns lifeguards to all of its cruise ship pools. It took this step only after a six year child slipped under the water and is now severely brain injured.

NCL and Royal Caribbean haven't bothered to employ lifeguards to protect little kids in and around the cruise ship pools even though several minors have drowned or been seriously injured in pools without lifeguards.

The USA TODAY article picked the NCL Breakaway as one the best cruise ships for minors but two children were pulled from a swimming pool on this cruise ship by other passengers just last February. One child is dead.

The article also selected a Royal Caribbean ship too, but last month a child nearly drowned on the Independence of the Seas

If you are worried about the potential that your little kid could drown in the ship's pools, Disney is the only cruise line that I would recommend.

Sexual Perverts and Predators:

Minors including toddlers have been sexually abused on cruise ships. Take a minute and read:

Sexual Perverts & Pedophiles on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships

Royal Caribbean is hardly the only cruise line with this problem. You can search this site and read of minors being victimized on cruise ships operated by Disney, Celebrity, and the Carnival brands. Yes, even cruise ship baby-sitters have been accused of molesting minors.

The article mentions "play zones" or "kid zones" on cruise ships.  Before you leave your minor kid in one of these places, do your homework. Don't assume all of the employees have been carefully vetted. 

Child pornography is also a problem on cruise ships.  There are frequent arrests by custom officials of crew members whose iPhones and laptops are loaded with hundreds/thousands of photos and videos of child pornography. You can read our many articles about this problem here

Have a Healthy Skepticism of Paradise:

Don't trust best-cruise-ships-for-kids articles written by cruise fans and travel writers. They are often given free cruises and other perks. They will go out of their way to avoid embarrassing the cruise lines. They do the public, who doesn't know any better, a disservice. Read other sources of information. Check around. Educate yourself as a parent before you take your child unwittingly into danger. And once you're on the cruise ship, keep your eyes on your kids at all times. 

 

Photo Credit: Frommers

Disney Child Molestation Case: "Swept Under the Rug"

Disney Cruise Ship CrimeWKMG Local 6 (Orlando) aired the second segment of an interview with a former Disney security officer regarding an incident in 2012 when the Disney Dream staff captain ordered her to "keep her mouth shut" after she investigated the sexual assault of an 11 year-old girl by a 33 year-old Disney waiter.

The incident occurred in U.S. waters in Port Canaveral but Officer Dawn Taplin was ordered by the staff captain to be quiet.  She feared that she would lose her job if she notified the local police at the port or in Brevard county or called the FBI. She quit her job, according to WKMG, a few weeks after the crime.

Disney sailed the Dream out of U.S. waters and flew its employee home to India rather than promptly reporting the sexual molestation to U.S. law authorities who had jurisdiction.

Officer Taplin said that she felt like Disney tried to sweep the crime under the carpet, partly because the little girl and her grandmother were Brazilian. "Disney wouldn't have got away with it if they were Americans," Officer Taplin told WKMG's Mike DeForest.

You can watch other portions of the eye-opening interview here and here.

WKMG has been a leader in reporting crimes which occur on cruise ships.  Read and watch: "Murky reporting obscures some cruise ship crimes."

Credits: WKMG Local 6 (Orlando)

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Disney Dream Child Molestation Case: Staff Captain Instructed Security Officer Not to Contact U.S. Law Authorities

After a 33 year-old Disney waiter molested an 11 year-old girl aboard the Disney Dream at the port of Cape Canaveral, the cruise ship's staff captain ordered a security officer not to contact local U.S. police officers or the FBI. 

That's what former Disney security officer Dawn Taplin told Orlando news station WKMG Local 6 in an interview which aired last night. WKMG reporter Mike DeForest conducted the interview.  

The Dream then left the U.S. port and sailed to Nassau where Disney flew the pervert back to his home in India.

According to the WKMG interview, Officer Taplin previously worked for the Palm Bay Police Department and Port Canaveral Police. Disney Cruise Child MolestationDisney recruited her to work for the family-oriented cruise line as a Security Officer. She was responsible for supervising 8 or 9 security guards. She was the first female security officer at Disney. 

In 2012 Officer Taplin was involved in the investigation of a child molestation case on the Disney Dream. An upset, crying 11 year-old girl told her that a 33 year-old Disney waiter followed her into an elevator and grabbed her breast and kissed her on the mouth. Officer Taplin reviewed surveillance video that confirmed the incident and wanted to call Port Canaveral police or her longtime contact with the FBI in Brevard County. However, Officer Taplin says that the cruise ship's staff captain ordered her not to report the crime. 

WKMG reported that the Disney Dream left Port Canaveral promptly at 5:02 p.m. with the victim and the molestation suspect still on board.

Officer Taplin told WKMG that "Disney waits on passengers' luggage . . . not setting sail on time. I remember waiting until 6:30 one time on somebody's luggage."

The Disney staff captain was not identified in the interview.  it will be interesting to determine his identity and find out whether he is still working on Disney cruise ships. It will also be interesting to learn whether the staff captain contacted Disney's shore-side risk management department about the crime before the cruise ship left the jurisdiction and determine whether the quick departure was approved by Disney's corporate management. Disney was quoted, when WKMG exposed the cover-up, saying that the ship handled the case properly. 

Image and video credit:  WKMG Local 6 (Orlando)

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Cruise Nightmare: Disney Crew Member Arrested on Charges of Molesting Child on Disney Dream

Ahmed Sofyan - Disney Cruise MolestationNews sources in Florida are reporting that the Port Canaveral Police Department arrested a 36 year old Disney crew member today on charges of molesting a 13 year old girl on the Disney Dream cruise ship.

Florida Today states that "the Port Canaveral Police Department has arrested a Disney Cruise Line crew member today for alleged lewd or lascivious molestation of a minor."

WKMG Orlando, which has been a leader in covering cruise ship crimes, identifies the Disney crew member accused of molesting the 13-year-old girl as Ahmed Sofyan, age 36, of Jakarta, Indonesia.

He was charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and one count of false imprisonment.

The alleged incident occurred aboard the Disney Dream ship while it was docked in Port Canaveral this morning. 

The Port Canaveral Police Department says that at approximately 8:12 AM, Canaveral Port Authority Police responded to the request of Disney Cruise Lines regarding a lewd or lascivious molestation that occurred aboard the Disney Dream cruise ship while docked at terminal 8 in Port Canaveral. Upon conclusion of the investigation, crew member Ahmed Sofyan (DOB: 07/22/77) of Jakarta, Indonesia, was charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and one count of false imprisonment. The victim was a 13-year-old female not known to the suspect.

Last year Disney refused to timely report a similar incident when a 33 year old Disney waiter molested an 11 year old girl on the Disney Dream. Although the incident occurred while the cruise ship was in port in Port Canaveral, Disney sailed the cruise ship to the Bahamas in what appeared to be an attempt to aid the crew member in escaping justice.  The Bahamas, as expected, refused to arrest the molester and Disney then flew the crew member back to his home country, India. WKMG covered the disturbing story. You can see photos of the incident here and read our account of the crime here.

Indonesian crew members have received bad press lately.  In February an Indonesian crew member on a HAL cruise ship was arrested in a horrific case where he tried to kill and throw a passenger overboard from the Nieuw Amsterdam.

Sexual assaults against children is an issue we have discussed many times on this blog.  In 2010, we reported on a situation - Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship 

A news report from WKMG on the latest Disney Cruises child molestation case is below: 

Have a thought about this case?  Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

 

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Child Porn Lands Cruise Passenger In Jail

The Palm Beach Post reports that a cruise passenger's vacation ended dramatically when he was busted by federal agents who found child pornography on his computer.

Incidents involving crew members and passengers, all men, arrested leaving cruise ships with child porn on their computers, iPhones and flash-drives occur all too often.

In this case,the Palm Beach Post says that the man was arrested when the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship returned to port in Palm Beach last Sunday.

Bahamas Celebration Cruise ShipThe newspaper identifies the passengers as Zachary Frederick-Scott Cunningham whose Acer laptop is alleged to contain images and videos of child pornography. According to the criminal complaint, subsequently filed by prosecutors in Palm Beach, Cunningham admitted that he downloaded the pornographic images.

These type of cases should act as a reminder to families vacationing on cruise ships that there are perverts everywhere, including the high seas. Here are some of the more notorious cruise ship child pornography / child predator cases:

Celebrity Cruises Crew Member Arrested on Child Porn Charges

Royal Caribbean Cruise Passenger Sentenced to Jail for Over 5,000 Images of Child Pornography

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships

Our advice? Watch your kids, parents. Yes, the U.S. federal agents and Canadian authorities will occasionally nab a child porno sicko with images on his iPhone or laptop but that's just a fraction of the child porn coming on and off cruise ships. But don't think that the port officials anywhere else will look for the porno or predator creeps.  With 21,000,000 people sailing each year there are many thousands of sick perverts out there on the high seas.

Convicted Child Molester Prohibited From Leaving U.S. to Go on Cruise

Roderick Reese - Cruise - Child MolesterThe Macomb Daily reports today on the arrest of a convicted child molester who was stopped at an airport when he attempted to fly to Europe to go on a cruise.

According to the Macomb Daily, Roderick Reese, age 61, of Southfield, Michigan was arrested by Michigan State Police minutes before he and his wife were to board a Delta flight at Detroit Metropolitan Airport headed for Amsterdam. 

He was arrested because he failed to notify authorities that he was on the sex offender registry, according to the newspaper.

The newspaper further states that Reese was a former teacher who was accused of groping fifth-grade girls, age 9 to 11, in 2003 and 2004 when he taught at a local elementary school in Michigan.

He reportedly pleaded no contest in 2005 to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in a plea agreement with Macomb County prosecutors. He was sentenced to five years probation with the first year in the county jail. Fifteen additional charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and another five counts of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct were dismissed as part of the deal. 

The school system was reportedly sued by 11 girls with the cases resulting in settlements. 

The state trooper who commented on the case stated that Reese “said they were going on a 25th wedding anniversary cruise that he paid $16,000 for. He wasn’t happy. He was in disbelief."

The state trooper added “I don’t think those school children (he was accused of molesting) would’ve been happy” if he was allowed to break the rules and go on the trip.

Our firm is occasionally asked by convicted felons whether they can leave the U.S. to go on cruises, either alone or with their families.

The ability of state and national law enforcement officials to track child molesters and keep them from cruising is sporadic at best.

 

Photo Credit: Busted Offenders

HAL Cruise Ship Musician Jailed for Child Pornography

A Canadian newspaper reports that a crew member aboard the Holland America Line Veendam cruise ship was jailed for possession of child pornography. 

Sean Richard Bell, age 37, was arrested almost three months ago for possessing images and video of what are described as underage naked boys. He pleaded guilty today in a Halifax courtroom to the criminal charges,

Given time served, Bell will be imprisoned for an additional 69 days of his sentence. He was also given a one year probation order which requires him to take sex offender treatment. He has also been placed on Sean Richard Bell - HAL Cruise Shipthe national sex offender registry for ten years and must provide a DNA sample to the Canadian data base. 

HAL formerly employed Bell as a performer in Neptunes Trio on board the cruise ship. 

We previously reported on this case when Bell was arrested on June 3 2013: Another Cruise Ship Employee Busted with Child Porn - This Time HAL Veendam.  

This is a topic cruise lines would prefer to avoid discussing:

Is Child Pornography Widespread on Cruise Ships?

 

Photo Credit: Global News

Miami Herald Editorial: "Report, Punish Crime on Cruises"

The following is an editorial / opinion piece by the Miami Herald which was published tonight:

"Crime on the high seas isn’t just about illegal commercial fishing practices, drug-running and Somalian pirates. Unfortunately, it also comes in the form of sexual assault, theft and suspicious disappearances on what are supposed to be pleasure cruises.

Under pressure from Congress, specifically, a consumer-safety bill introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, of West Virginia, the three largest cruise lines, Miami-based Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, agreed to release the data of alleged crimes reported on their ships. Combined, they make up 85 percent of the industry. The crime stats will allow potential passengers to make better-informed decisions, just as the flying public can access information on airline safety and car buyers can find out which are the most road-worthy.

The crime data’s release should also propel cruise lines to take the problem as seriously as their CEOs say they do. In South Florida, cruises are a bread-and-butter industry, boosting the economy and luring tourists back again and again.

Given the multitude of cruises that depart annually, there isn’t anything akin to a crime wave on cruise ships. However, Sen. Rockefeller is right to be perturbed by how many cruise lines handle — or fail to handle — crime reported on board. Cruise-industry leaders announced their crime-data release agreement last week during a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation.

It’s been a rough 18 months for the cruise industry. The public has heard unsettling news of cruise ship fires, read published messages sent from frightened and beleaguered passengers adrift in the dark and, most disturbing, seen dramatic photographs of the Costa Concordia, beached off the Italian coast, lying on its side, swamped with water, 32 passengers dead. Because of the public nature of these incidents, cruise-line leaders were equally as public in taking responsibility for what went wrong.

Less so, however, when it comes to crime aboard cruises to exotic locales. Legislation in the U.S. House and Senate would require the information be made available to the public. Before, only crimes that no longer were being investigated by the FBI were made public. As a result, potential passengers only had misleading information to go on. A report showed that 130 alleged crimes in categories specified by the cruise safety act had been reported to the FBI in 2011 and 2012, but only 31 of those had been reported to the public during that time. Cruise lines reported a total of 959 alleged crimes overall to the FBI, the document says.

There’s another serious problem that lawmakers should address: Some cruise lines egregiously help crew members accused of sexual assault and other crimes elude prosecution. Unfortunately, it’s an old story being given new life in an awful case reported by WKMG-Channel 6 in Orlando. A crew member on a Disney cruise was caught on video molesting an 11-year-old girl while the ship still was in port. Ship authorities waited a full day before reporting the crime to the FBI. By that time the ship was on its way to the Bahamas, where the alleged perpetrator was allowed to disembark, out of the reach of U.S. law enforcement. Disney then did the guy a further favor and flew him home to India.

According to the website cruiselawnews.com, “Disney was able to avoid the U.S. investigation into the incident while making certain that any investigation was handled only by the Bahamas which, theoretically can investigate shipboard crimes because Disney cruise ships fly Bahamian flags of convenience.” But the Bahamas has a lousy record of investigating such crimes.

Lawmakers must pressure guilty cruise lines to confront and end this deplorable practice. Merely reporting the number of onboard crimes brings little comfort if perpetrators are not brought to justice." 

Disney Cruise Line Sexual PredatorRead other articles regarding this problem with Disney Cruise Line:

"Sickened" By Molestation of Child on Disney Dream, Brevard County Attorney General Vows to Zealously Prosecute Cruise Ship Crimes

Images of a Disney Nightmare: Are Your Kids Safe Sailing With Disney?

Did Disney Cruise Line Really Sail a Crime Scene from the U.S. to Nassau? International Press Focuses on Disney Child Molestation Case
 

Hot Potato: No One Arrested After 12 Year Old Alleges Sexual Assault Aboard Celebrity Century Cruise Ship

KTOO in Alaska reports on what is being described as an alleged sexual assault by a thirty year old man against a 12 year old girl on a cruise ship operated by Celebrity Cruises. 

KTOO states that a "30-year-old Japanese man allegedly groped a Canadian girl near the pool of a Celebrity cruise ship on June 28th. The alleged attack took place after the ship had departed Ketchikan, but while it was still in Alaska waters."

The incident was reported to ship security who apparently did not detain the man but reported the Cruise Sexual Assault - Celebrity Century Cruise Ship  incident to the Vancouver Police Department. Vancouver authorities initially investigated but turned the matter over to the the FBI, The FBI, in turn, then referred the case to Alaskan State Troopers.

The Alaskan Troopers say the case has been referred to the District Attorney in Ketchikan, Alaska for review.

KRBD identifies the cruise ship as the Celebrity Century. The news station states that no one has been arrested.

The case illustrates the difficulties prosecuting crimes on cruise ships.

A 30 year old Japanese man apparently molests a 12 year old Canadian girl in Alaskan state waters. The cruise ship apparently does not apprehend the man or return to an Alaskan port. The ship sails on to Vancouver, Canada which does not arrest the man even though the victim is Canadian, but reports the crime to the FBI which does not have jurisdiction because the incident occurred in state territorial waters of Alaska. The FBI sends the matter back to Alaska where the crime is alleged to occur.  By the time the Alaskan Troopers are involved, the Japanese man is long gone. 

Around and around we go, with no one wanting the hot potato, and the cruise line hoping the situation will just disappear.

The local District Attorney in Ketchikan Alaska is now looking at trying to figure out how to prosecute a Japanese cruise passenger, who allegedly molested a little Canadian girl, and who probably escaped to Japan and will never return to the U.S. again.

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page

 

Photo Credit: Cruise Critic

Is Child Pornography Widespread on Cruise Ships?

Last week we reported on an arrest of a Holland American Line (HAL) crew member from the Veendam cruise ship on charges of possessing and importing images of child pornography.

I mentioned that the arrest was one of six arrests of crew members for child pornography in the port of Halifax Canada alone.  The arrests involved crew members from a wide variety of cruise ships, including the Cunard Queen Mary 2, Carnival Glory, Carnival Triumph, Costa Atlantica, Norwegian Jewel, and HAL Veendam.

Cruise Ship Child PornographyBut these incidents are just a small percentage of the total number of crew members arrested by the Canadian authorities for possessing child pornography on cruise ships entering ports in Canada.

A spokesperson for the Canada Border Service Agency stated that there have been fifty-six (56) seizures of child pornography from ships in Canadian ports from 2009 - 2012:

2012: 6 seizures of child porn.
2011: 17 seizures of child porn.
2010: 14 seizures of child porn.
2009: 19 seizures of child porn. 

We have reported on child pornographers and child predators in many other articles, including some very disturbing cases like this crew member on a Celebrity cruise ship

Yes, there are perverts everywhere, but few parents who cruise realize that the problem exists on cruise ships as well.  Unfortunately, Canada is the only country where the customs and border authorities are serious about searching crew member computers and putting the perverts in jail. 
   

Another Cruise Ship Employee Busted with Child Porn - This Time HAL Veendam

Child Porn HAL Veendam Sean BellA newspaper in Canada reports today that a 36-year-old cruise ship employee faces child pornography charges after police and Canadian border officials in Halifax found explicit files aboard the cruise ship where he works. Metro News Canada identified the crew member as Sean Richard Bell.

Halifax Regional Police state that Canada immigration authorities arrested the crew member following a routine search aboard the MS Veendam, a Holland America America (HAL) cruise ship, while it was docked in the Nova Scotia capital on Monday.

Officers from the Canada Border Service Agency discovered "explicit electronic files depicting child pornography" on various electronic equipment belonging to a crew member in his cabin.  

The crew member is reported to be a musician / performer who was employed by HAL. The crew member faces charges of possessing, smuggling and importing child pornography.

This is hardly the first time a crew member has been arrested on child porn charges.  The authorities in Halifax, Canada do an outstanding job of arresting crew members with child pornography, including the following cases. These cases involve just crew members arrested in Halifax:

Edward Brillantes Mangubat, age 40, worked for Cunard. He was arrested in Halifax when Canadian Border officer searched his laptop computer and found sexually explicit video featuring children. Mangubat worked as a stagehand on Cunard's cruise ship Queen Mary 2. He worked on cruise ships for seven years.

Nyoman Putra, age 26, is an Indonesian working as an assistant room steward on the Carnival Glory, allegedly had child pornography on a laptop computer. Canada Border Services Agency officers were inspecting crew members getting off the cruise ship when they nabbed the Carnival crew member at Pier 22 in Halifax.

Jay-Ar Ramos Trilles, age 23, of the Philippines pleaded guilty in Halifax provincial court to charges of possessing and importing child pornography. Canada Border Services Agency officer arrested an assistant waiter on the Costa Atlantica on Tuesday as he was getting off the cruise ship at Pier 22 in Halifax. Two sexually explicit videos of children were found on both a USB flash drive and a laptop computer. One of the videos depicted a boy and a girl between the ages of 10 and 12, while the other showed a six-year-old girl being sexually abused by a man. The prosecutor in Canada stated that the border agency is determined to keep such "abhorrent" material from being brought into the country. Trilles worked with Costa Cruises for three years.

Menandro Lim Lanzar, age 31, from the Philippines was arraigned in Halifax on a charge of importing child pornography. Mr. Lanzar was employed as a quarter master on the NCL cruise ship Norwegian Jewel.

Hendri Dharmawan, age 29, was working as a pastry chef on the Carnival Triumph when he was arrested in Halifax. The crew member was caught with pornography on his iPhone as he returned to the Carnival cruise ship. The border police then accompanied him back to his cabin where they discovered over two hours of child pornography on Dharmawan's laptop and external hard drive. The footage depicted girls as young as eight and boys as young as 10 being abused.

 

Photo Credit: Winnipeg Free Press / Facebook

Royal Caribbean Cruise Passenger Sentenced to Jail for Over 5,000 Images of Child Pornography

Gary Lee Reed - Chilh PornographyIn a story we first reported on in December last year, a cruise passenger aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for transporting thousands of child pornography photos and videos on a cruise from Port Canaveral. 

Gary Lee Reed seemed like a normal passenger but an initial search of his laptop computer revealed 1,162 photos and videos when he cruised on Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas ship during a cruise to the Bahamas and back to Florida. 

Federal agents searched the 47-year-old's computer laptop he brought during the cruise and found the extensive collection of child pornography. The Orlando Sentinel reported that around 350 of the victims in photos and videos were identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The images included sexual abuse of toddlers and babies.

Reed was returning to Port Canaveral at the end of the cruise to the Bahamas. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations.

Reed is from Idaho and a newspaper there reported earlier this year that Reed had a desktop computer, thumb drives, CDs and DVDs where he downloaded and stored child pornography images at his home.

A forensic search of the computers, discs, USB flash and digital hard drives revealed a staggering amount of child pornography: 38,731 images and 680 videos of child pornography.  A more detailed search of his laptop seized after the cruise in Florida revealed a total of 3,021 images and 2000 videos of child pornography.

Reed faced up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release for the crime, according to the plea agreement, which adds that he will also have to register as a sex offender.

Think passengers and crew members with child porn on cruises are rare? Read here

 

Photo Credit: Florida Today

Police in Bahamas Defend Dropping Disney Child Molestation Case: "There is No Complaint in the Bahamas and There is No Issue"

A police officer in Nassau, Bahamas finds himself in the middle of a controversy regarding another botched investigation by the Bahamas into a Bahamian-flagged cruise ship matter.    

Nassau police superintendent Paul Rolle is quoted in an article in the Nassau Guardian about the molestation of an 11 year old girl by a 33 year old crew member aboard the Disney Dream cruise ship, saying: "As far as I am concerned there is no complaint in the Bahamas and there is no issue."

These remarkably insensitive comments by police officer Rolle in the Bahamas are an insight into how indifferent many law enforcement officials are in the flag-of-convenience countries where cruise lines register their cruise ships to avoid the scrutiny of the United States.      

Disney Dream Cruise Ship Molestation CaseJust today an article appeared in the Australian press discussing how cruise ship passengers who fall victim to serious crime may find their cases handled in countries like the Bahamas with poor human rights records. The articles states: "More than half of the world's cruise ships are registered in Panama, Liberia and the Bahamas . . . passengers could have their case heard in countries with a poor human rights records and a history of ignoring crimes against women."

In the Disney Dream case, the shipboard video clearly shows the Disney crew member stalking the child and following her into an elevator. The child promptly reported to cruise ship security that the Disney crew member grabbed her breast and kissed her. This occurred an hour and one-half before the ship's departure time. (The Nassau Guardian erroneously reports that the incident occurred on the cruise "shortly after it left Port Canaveral.")  But Disney decided not to promptly report the crime to the Port Canaveral police, choosing instead to sail out of the U.S. jurisdiction. It reported the matter the next day to the Bahamas which permitted the crew member to fly home to India.

In an article "Police Defend Action in Cruise Ship Matter," Officer Rolle says:

"The Americans already have their laws as to how they deal with matters on-board any ship that is owed by Americans or an American company. The fact is that the individuals at the time did not wish any complaint and no one has since come forward and indicated that they wanted to make a complaint."

Rolle is wrong on both counts.

Disney Cruise Line is not an "American" company. It legally operates as the "Magical Cruise Line" and incorporated itself in the U.K. and registered its cruise ships in the Bahamas to avoid U.S. taxes, labor laws and oversight. 

Regarding the victim's alleged decision not to make a complaint, the fact is that the little girl and her Disney Cruise Sexual Assault - Child Molestationgrandmother did make a complaint to the security personnel of the Bahamian-flagged cruise ship. A victim does not have to make multiple complaints on and off the ship over multiple days. The girl cooperated in answering the security officer's questions (in tears), completing forms and identifying the Disney perpetrator. The girl and her grandmother demonstrated courage by pressing criminal charges when they should have been enjoying the beginning of a cruise of a lifetime. 

If Disney had reported the crime immediately to the police in Port Canaveral or provided the child's grandmother with the local police's telephone numbers, the case would have turned out differently. As the Brevard County Attorney General said: "the decision to prosecute that serious a crime in Florida rests with a prosecutor, not a grandmother."

Plus, there are many reasons why a child and her grandmother may have decided not to make a second complaint in the Bahamas. How was the child treated after making the first complaint?  The Disney perpetrator should have been handcuffed and taken off the cruise ship and the girl should have seen a counselor. Instead, the girl was forced to sail on the ship with the perpetrator still aboard.

The reporter investigating the crime, Tony Pipitone, said that the cruise line repeatedly provided him with false information. Did Disney also lie to the child and her grandmother?  In many cases, we see the cruise lines and police officers at the next port of call intimidate the victim's family. They tell them that they will have to travel back to port of call repeatedly for criminal hearings and trial. By the time the cruise ship arrived in Nassau, the little girl and her grandmother were undoubtedly tired and traumatized. They had not been permitted to speak with U.S. law enforcement, a social worker or counselor, or their own legal representatives.  Instead they had to deal with Disney and the Bahamas which have their own agenda to keep matters like this quiet.

Rolle is sensitive to issues of tourism. He understands the effects of crime on tourism both in the Bahamas and on Bahamian-flagged cruise ships. When a U.S. crew member was shot and killed in Nassau two weeks ago, Rolle defended himself saying "We aren’t no play-play cartoon police force." He told the Nassau Guardian "Tourism is our life blood.”  

Nassau Bahamas Paul Rolle Police Superintendent Bahamas police officer Rolle is also no stranger to Disney cruise ship controversies and protecting Disney's image. When a Disney crew member, Rebecca Coriam, disappeared from the Bahamian-flagged Disney Wonder two years ago under disturbing circumstances, it was Rolle who the Bahamas tasked with flying over to Los Angeles to briefly board the cruise ship to investigate what happened.  Rolle conducted a quickie investigation which of course exonerated Disney. The international media characterized Rolle's efforts as a "farce" designed to assist Disney in covering the matter up. 

Rolle promised the Coriam family that he would release the results of his "investigation" into their daughter's disappearance. But he has persistently refused to do so. To date, the Bahamas refuses to cooperate with the Coriam family and has kept Rolle's report secret from the family. Disney and the Bahamas have erected a wall of silence when the Coriam family seek information about Rebecca.      

With the likes of tourism-sensitive Officer Rolle responsible for official cruise ship investigations, it is no wonder that Disney refused to timely report the child molestation to the U.S. police in Port Canaveral. By sailing the crime scene over to the Bahamas, media-sensitive Disney assured that its police friends in Nassau would do nothing. Disney could then fly its child-molester employee home with Rolle's blessings.  

 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit:

Top: WKMG Channel 6 in Orlando

Middle: Jim Walker

Bottom: Nassau Guardian

Images of a Disney Nightmare: Are Your Kids Safe Sailing With Disney?

Last night a local news station in Orlando Florida aired a blockbuster investigation into a crime aboard a Disney cruise ship (the Disney Dream) at Port Canaveral where a Disney waiter stalked an eleven year old girl and molested her in an elevator.

Yes, crimes occur everywhere. But the disturbing thing thing about this story is that Disney clearly knew what happened and who did it, but it took steps that resulted in its crew member avoiding prosecution. Instead of reporting the crime promptly to local law enforcement in Port Canaveral which has jurisdiction over crimes in the port, Disney left the port without reporting the crime to U.S. authorities. Disney reported the crime to the police at the next port in Nassau, Bahamas. But Disney flies the flag of the Bahamas and has a cozy relationship with that island.  

A prosecution of a Disney employee in Nassau? Never going to happen. Sure enough, Disney quickly flew the child molester back to his home country in India rather than return him to the U.S. for prosecution.   

We covered the story which you can read here: Did Disney Cruise Lines Cover Up Sexual Molestation of 11 Year Old Girl on Disney Dream?    

We created a Facebook photo album of images from the program aired by WKMG Channel 6 in Orlando, which you can see here.  A couple of images from WKMG Channel 6 Orlando are below:

Disney Dream Child Molester

Disney Dream Child Molester

Disney Dream Child Molester

 

Did Disney Cruise Lines Cover Up Sexual Molestation of 11 Year Old Girl on Disney Dream?

Disney Dream Cruise Ship Child MolestationTonight a local news station in Florida reportied on a case involving a cruise line which markets itself as being family friendly and kid oriented.

At 11 PM tonight, WKMG-Channel 6 in Orlando aired what is being described as a "shocking report about a Disney Cruise Line employee fondling an 11-year-old girl and the strange events that followed."

The news station states that it has video of a Disney crew member groping an 11-year-old girl in August 2012.

The article is entitled Disney Cruise Line Fails to Promptly Report Molestation of 11-Year-Old Girl in Port

The incident occurred on the Disney Dream cruise ship before it departed Port Canaveral for a Caribbean cruise. The crew member followed the child into an elevator and "repeatedly grabbed her breast through her clothes and forcibly kissed her on the mouth as he cornered her in an elevator on the Disney Dream."

The news station states that Disney knew what happened, and had video evidence substantiating the child's account. But it chose not to promptly report the crime to the local police in Florida.  Instead, it reported the crime the next day, after the ship was headed to the Bahamas. The news station accuses Disney of lying and trying to cover the incident up. Once the cruise ship reached the Bahamas, the crew member - identified as Milton Braganza from India (photo bottom) - eventually admitted to molesting the child. Disney then flew the crew member home to India, at the cruise line's expense, rather than arrange for Disney Dream Sexual Molestation of Minor him to return to Florida to be arrested. 

In our experiences over the years, we have seen cruise ships delay reporting crimes to the FBI and local law enforcement authorities in the U.S.  Disney registers its cruise ships in the Bahamas to avoid U.S. taxes and wages and safety laws.  By delaying the reporting of the alleged crime, Disney was able to avoid the U.S. investigation into the incident while making certain that any investigation was handled only by the Bahamas which, theoretically can investigate shipboard crimes because Disney cruise ships fly Bahamian flags of convenience.

But the Bahamas has a deplorable record of investigating cruise ship crimes.      

The news reporter who covered the story, Tony Pipitone, stated in a promotional piece: "Find out what happened to the 33-year-old man who avoided investigation in Florida, thanks in part to his employer's inaction."

Disney Crew Member Milton BragnanzaPipitone, referred to Disney having "conflicting accounts of what it knew [and] when it knew it." He mentioned that "he talked to Port Canaveral police, who say they would have liked to know about the crime, which the cruise line didn't report promptly."

Sexual abuse of children during cruises, including Disney cruises, is something we have written about at length here on our blog:

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship 

Sexual Perverts & Pedophiles on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships

Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

Last week this news station reported on cruise crime on a Disney ship which revealed that crimes are often not prosecuted by federal authorities. You can watch that report here.

Here's the video from WKMG: 

 

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

 

Middle Photo: WKMG Channel 6 Orlando 

Bottom Photo: Milton Bragnanza Facebook

Carnival Passenger Sentenced to 20 Years for Raping Teen During Cruise

A judge sentenced 31 year old Carnival cruise passenger Casey Dickerson to 20 years in prison to be followed by 15 years probation for raping a 15 year old girl aboard the Carnival Sensation cruise ship. Dickerson and a pack of four boys raped the child last year. Dickerson supplied the boys with alcohol during the cruise and encouraged them to take turns raping the child.

We reported on the crime in an article in August of last year: 15 Year Old Girl Alleges Gang Rape on Carnival Sensation.

There is a serious problem on cruise ships with far too much booze, lax security and an anything goes mentality. Read our article last year -  Rape of 15 Year Old Girl Is Latest Crime Against Children on Carnival Cruises.  

Casey Dickerson - Carnival Cruise Rape


 Photo credit: FanDaily

Sexual Perverts & Pedophiles on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships

Todd Nordahl - Sexual Assault - Royal CaribbeanYesterday, I wrote a short article here about a 49 year old man who reportedly sexually assaulted a 15 year old boy on the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas cruise ship.  As I mentioned earlier, a FBI press release states that Todd Nordahl, of Tuscon Arizona, was arrested when the Royal Caribbean cruise ship returned to Galveston from a seven-night cruise. Nordahl was charged with sexually abusing the boy on March 27. He allegedly provided alcohol to the minor victim, made sexual advances toward the child and then sexually assaulted him.

Sexual assaults on Royal Caribbean cruise ships, as well as on other cruise lines, are more frequent than the cruise industry will admit. There are many hundreds of crimes which have occurred over the years on the Royal Caribbean fleet - child porn freaks, child predators and sexual deviants - both crew members and fellow passengers.  

In 1999, Royal Caribbean commissioned a study to access the frequency of sexual assaults on its fleet of cruise ships. The independent experts concluded that sexual misconduct on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ship occurred "frequently." 

Royal Caribbean Sexual Assault Cruise ShipThe experts recommended that certain steps be taken to reduce the number of incidents. In response, the cruise line implemented none of the recommendations. Instead, Royal Caribbean began a PR campaign stating that sexual misconduct was "rare" and touted that the "safety of passengers was its highest priority." The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) later adopted the "safety is our highest priority" slogan as its official talking point.

Our firm was the first to uncover and obtain an order compelling the cruise line to release this report to the public.

Royal Caribbean, in my assessment, continues to perpetuate a fraud on the American public by telling them that their cruise ships are safe, when it knows that that sexual assaults are "frequent."  

Since then there have been many sexual assaults of children throughout the Royal Caribbean - Celebrity Cruises fleet of ships.  Here are some of the recent cases of child porn addicts, sexual predators and men convicted of assaulting children aboard Royal Caribbean / Celebrity cruise ships:

Two years ago, a 15 girl was sexually assaulted by who she describes as a uniformed Royal Caribbean crew member aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship. The crime occurred after the cruise employee let himself into the child's cabin while her parents were at a different part of the cruise ship. Like most cruise ship crime cases, the FBI did not arrest anyone and the crime remains unsolved. Child Porn Royal Caribbean Cruise ShipSee the video below to watch the disturbing story.

Timothy David Webb, age 32, (left) was arrested after he disembarked Royal Caribbean's cruise ship Grandeur of the Seas as a passenger at the Norfolk cruise ship terminal. Webb is a convicted sex offender and has a prior conviction sodomy in the state of Virginia. The customs agents pulled Webb from a line of passengers disembarking the cruise ship and searched his laptop, which contained child pornography videos.

A 15 year old girl was raped on the Allure of the Seas last year. The crime occurred after the girl was lured from the cruise ship's teen club called "Fuel" when a 15 year old boy told her he was having a party in his room. Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship 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 (right). 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." Both pled guilty to the crimes.

Celebrity Cruises Sexual AssaultAmado Nicholas Hernandez, age 31, (left) is a pedophile who was employed by Celebrity Cruises as an audiovisual manager and provided onboard guest-entertainment services aboard the Constellation cruise ship. Hernandez was arrested after police determined that his computer contained 450 photographs and about 250 video files of child pornography portraying a total of 44 different victims. The criminal complaint filed against Hernandez alleged that upcoming cruises included several stops in Mexico. Hernandez, in documented online chats, reportedly had bragged that he had bought young boys for sex in Mexico and “almost offed one,” the criminal complaint alleges. He reportedly dressed as Santa Claus on the Celebrity cruise ship and was photographed with the children of passengers sitting on his lap.  

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Sexual Assault A Royal Caribbean crew member has pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a 14 year old girl during a Caribbean cruise. 25 year old Fabian Palmer admitted engaging in sexual relations with the girl during a cruise from Baltimore in December 2010. Crew member Palmer was employed by Royal Caribbean as a pool attendant and interacted regularly with passengers during cruises. He met the girl and her family earlier during the cruise. Palmer took the child into a men's locker room on the Enchantment of the Seas and engaged in sexual acts in the bathroom.

Federal authorities arrested an Idaho man who took a cruise from Port Canaveral with more than 1,000 Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Porn images of child pornography on a laptop he took on the cruise ship. According to a complaint filed in Orlando federal court, authorities were inspecting cruise passengers onboard Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas cruise ship on December 10, 2012, when they discovered that the laptop computer of cruise passenger Gary Lee Reed, of Blackfoot Idaho, had around 1,162 images and videos depicting child pornography. The images included sexual abuse of toddlers and babies. Reed reportedly admitted that he has viewed child pornography for many years. He was arrested and subsequently indicted by an Orlando federal grand jury on a child pornography charge.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Child Predator A Pittsburgh-area man was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison for traveling to Florida in order to take a cruise so he could molest a young boy. Seventy-three-year-old Sherwood Stevenson pleaded guilty to traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Stevenson fondled a 6-year-old boy while in a hot tub on the Royal Caribbean Liberty if the Seas cruise ship in December 2009. When that boy got away, Stevenson made brief contact with another boy. Stevenson told investigators he took the cruise so he could molest young boys.

We have handled over 75 sexual assaults of women and children on cruise ships over the past decade. We maintain a large data-base of many hundreds of such crimes on cruise ships.

Cruise lines will never tell you the truth about sexual assault. It is the cruise industry's dirtiest secret.    

Cruise Crime Allegations: 15 Year Old Boy Sexually Assaulted on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas

Mariner of the Seas - Todd NordahlA 49 year old cruise passenger was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 15 year old boy during a recent cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas.

According to a FBI press release, Todd Nordahl, of Arizona, was arrested when the Royal Caribbean cruise ship returned to Galveston from a seven-night cruise. 

The charges are that on March 27, Nordahl provided alcohol to the minor victim, made sexual advances toward the child and then sexually assaulted the boy.

Nordahl, 49, is being held in the Galveston County Jail. There is a hearing scheduled tomorrow in Federal Court in Texas before U.S. Magistrate Judge John R. Froeschner at 2:00 PM.

Sexual assaults on cruise ships are one of the cruise industry's dirtiest secrets.  Tomorrow we will post some of the most devious child porn addicts and sexual predators caught on Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

Another Child Porn Bust, This Time on Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas

Child Porn Royal Caribbean Monarch of the SeasThe Orlando Sentinel reported this afternoon that Federal authorities arrested an Idaho man who took a cruise from Port Canaveral earlier this month with more than 1,000 images of child pornography on a laptop he took on the cruise ship.

According to a complaint filed in Orlando federal court, authorities were inspecting cruise passengers onboard Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas cruise ship on December 10, 2012, when they discovered that the laptop computer of cruise passenger Gary Lee Reed, of Blackfoot Idaho, had around 1,162 images and videos depicting child pornography. 

The images included sexual abuse of toddlers and babies.  Reed reportedly admitted that he has viewed child pornography for many years. He was arrested and subsequently indicted by an Orlando federal grand jury on a child pornography charge. (Anyone have a link to his mugshot?)

Cases like this may be surprising to some families who like to cruise but the arrest of cruise passengers and crew members is not uncommon. Consider the following arrests which we have blogged about here on Cruise Law News for just the last three years:

Cruise Child Porn Paul Trotter Paul Trotter, age 34, is the most prolific cruise child porn king known to the public so far. He worked for Cunard for seven years as a child supervisor aboard the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. He would take the children to areas not covered by surveillance cameras and physically and sexually abuse them. A real sicko, he would film himself sexually molesting the children to watch later. This was ultimately what got him caught. Someone tipped the police off in the U.K. where he lived. A police search of his computer revealed not only child pornography but his own videos of his crimes against the kids he was entrusted with on cruises. One newspaper reported that he supervised the "play zone" on 295 cruises over his seven years with Cunard. He admitted to abusing thirteen child probably because he was caught with images of 13 victims, is my suspicion. 295 cruises and several thousand children. A play zone of his own with no one supervising him while he abused the customer's kids. A pedophile's dream. How many more victims are there?  

Edward Brillantes Mangubat, age 40, is another pedophile who worked for Cunard. He was arrested in Halifax when Canadian Border officer searched his laptop computer and found sexually explicit video featuring children. Mangubat worked as a stagehand on Cunard's cruise ship Queen Mary 2. He worked on cruise ships for seven years.

Did he know Trotter and exchange porno tapes? Border agents went to Mangubat’s cabin and discovered that his laptop contained several videos showing “what can only be described as sexual assault of children,” including children under 12.” He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 120 days in jail.

Amado Nicholas Hernandez, age 31, (left) is a pedophile who was employed by Celebrity Cruises as an Child Porn Celebrity Cruise Ship audiovisual manager and provided onboard guest-entertainment services aboard the Constellation cruise ship.

Hernandez was arrested after police determined that his computer contained 450 photographs and about 250 video files of child pornography portraying a total of 44 different victims. The criminal complaint filed against Hernandez alleged that upcoming cruises included several stops in Mexico.

Hernandez, in documented online chats, reportedly had bragged that he had bought young boys for sex in Mexico and “almost offed one,” the criminal complaint alleges.

Nyoman Putra, age 26, an Indonesian working as an assistant room steward on the Carnival Glory, allegedly had child pornography on a laptop computer. Canada Border Services Agency officers were inspecting crew members getting off the cruise ship when they nabbed the Carnival crew member at Pier 22 in Halifax.

Canada's border agents do a good job catching crew members who try and enter the country with child Cruise Ship Pornpornography.  Putra was an assistant cabin attendant. It should concern any parent who cruises with their children to think of pedophile cabin attendants coming into the stateroom.

Jay-Ar Ramos Trilles, age 23, of the Philippines pleaded guilty in Halifax provincial court to charges of possessing and importing child pornography. Canada Border Services Agency officer arrested an assistant waiter on the Costa Atlantica on Tuesday as he was getting off the cruise ship at Pier 22 in Halifax. Two sexually explicit videos of children were found on both a USB flash drive and a laptop computer. One of the videos depicted a boy and a girl between the ages of 10 and 12, while the other showed a six-year-old girl being sexually abused by a man. The prosecutor in Canada stated that the border agency is determined to keep such "abhorrent" material from being brought into the country. Trilles worked with Costa Cruises for three years.

Menandro Lim Lanzar, age 31, from the Philippines was arraigned in Halifax on a charge of importing child pornography. Mr. Lanzar was employed as a quarter master on the NCL cruise ship Norwegian Jewel.

Hendri Dharmawan, age 29, was working as a pastry chef on the Carnival Triumph when he was arrested in Halifax.  The crew member was caught with pornography on his iPhone as he returned to the Carnival cruise ship. The border police then accompanied him back to his cabin where they discovered over two hours of child pornography on Dharmawan's laptop and external hard drive. The footage depicted girls as young as eight and boys as young as 10 being abused.

Cruise Ship Porn PassengerTimothy David Webb, age 32, (left) was arrested after he disembarked Royal Caribbean's cruise ship Grandeur of the Seas as a passenger at the Norfolk cruise ship terminal. Webb is a convicted sex offender and has a prior conviction sodomy in the state of Virginia. The customs agents pulled Webb from a line of passengers disembarking the cruise ship and searched his laptop, which contained child pornography videos. 

Senad Djedovic, (right) from Bosnia and Herzegovina, was arrested earlier this year after he boasted about engaging in sexual relations with a 16 year old girl who sailed on NCL's Norwegian Star cruise ship with her parents. After the cruise ended, Djedovic exchanged emails with the underage girl and received a number of sexually explicit photographs. Other crew members on the NCL cruise ship observed the photos and learned the girl's age and reported Djedovic to NCL which contacted the FBI. A search of Djedovic's computers revealed child pornography. Under a sub-folder entitled "scandals" there were several videos depicting sexual acts with 12 to 15 year old girls. NCL employed Cruise Ship Porn - NCLDjedovic from 2005 to March 2012 aboard a number of different cruise ships.

After Djedovic was arrested, a number of crew members and friends came to his defense arguing that he should be acquitted because sex with a 16 year old is not a big deal and this kind of conduct is not illegal in most countries. Djedovic was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

These type of stories should serve as a wake up to parents who take their children on cruises. Yes, there are sexual deviants and predators on cruise ships. A cruise ship presents the same dangers as your home town.

The stories above mostly involve child porn, not sexual assault. We have discussed all types of cases on this blog about men abusing children, such as a Carnival waiter raping a 14 year old girl, to a youth counselor abusing at least 13 boys on Cunard cruise ship, to a 71 year old man from the Pittsburg area traveling down to Miami to molest a 6 year old boy on a Royal Caribbean ship

Our advice? Parents watch your kids. Yes, the U.S. federal agents and Canadian authorities will occasionally nab a child porno sicko with images on his iPhone or laptop but that's probably a fraction of the child porn coming on and off cruise ships. With 16,000,000 people sailing each year there are many thousands of sick perverts out there on the high seas. 

Convicted! Passenger Guilty of Sexually Assaulting 15 Year Old Girl on Carnival Sensation

Casey Dickerson - Carnival Cruise Sexual AssaultA jury today convicted a 32 year old man for raping a a 15-year-old girl during a Carnival cruise. The girl was raped on the Carnival Sensation cruise ship by a man identified as Casey Dickerson, who then encouraged other boys to do the same.

We reported on the crime in a prior blog article

The gang rape of a fifteen year old girl on the Carnival cruise ship received international coverage with news stations across the U.S. and even the U.K. press covering the disturbing story of how a 31 year old passenger reportedly bought alcohol for four underage boys and they took turns raping the girl during a drunken party.

The issue of whether teenage girls are safe on cruise ships is an issue which we have written about a lot lately. Consider reading: Should I Send My Daughter on a Cruise?

Should I Send My Daughter on a Cruise?

Sexual Abuse of Children - Disney Cruise ShipOne of the web sites which I read from time to time is "TravelTruth." It is a site which describes itself as a "collaborative effort designed to offer the vacation consumer real world advice without exaggeration, deception, or sales bias. It is the ultimate insider’s view of how things really work, written by an award-winning team of travel consultants and journalists."  

TravelTruth recently addressed the issue raised by a mother who asked whether she should let her daughter vacation on a cruise ship in the Caribbean next spring.  The article is entitled "Bottom Line: Should My Daughter Do This Trip?"The article explains some of the dangers which we touch upon in this blog, namely the absence of independent police authorities on cruise ships, and the risk of sexual assault both on the ships and especially ashore in Mexico and the Caribbean islands.

If you are a parent thinking of taking your daughter (or son) aboard a cruise ship, consider reading the articles about the cruise lines below:

Sexual Assault of Children - Royal CaribbeanCarnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Disney, NCL, Oceania, Princess, and Royal Caribbean  

One of our goals at Cruise Law News is public awareness. Thus, the motto of our blog "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know."  The TravelTruth site also provided a link to our blog for parents to read if they are considering taking their daughters on a cruise.  

Our goal is not to scare the public from cruising, but to educate the public that its not safe to let your guard down aboard cruise ships while cruising with your children.  

Photos:

Top: Disney cruise passenger Lucas George Wickes indicted for felony sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse of minor aboard Disney Wonder.

Bottom: Royal Caribbean crew member Fabian Palmer indicted for felony sexual abuse of minor aboard Adventure of the Seas.

Another Predator Priest Goes On A Cruise

Bill Carney - Cruise Ship - Priest PedophileThe Daily Record in the U.K. published an article today about who it is describing as a "notorious pedophile priest . . . caught enjoying a luxury cruise among families with young children." 

The article involves ex-Catholic priest Bill Carney who sailed on the P & O Ventura ship on a Mediterranean cruise with his wife.

The article states that Carney terrorized children for years in his native Ireland and was suspected of abusing "up to 32 named victims, with evidence that there were many more." Carney, age 62, became a priest in 1974 and, according to the newspaper article, used his position to molest dozens of children. "He attacked boys and girls from at least eight children’s homes," according to the article. An Irish government report into child abuse by priests described Carney as “one of the most serious serial abusers in the archdiocese of Dublin."

In 1983, Priest Carney was convicted of two counts of indecent assault. He received probation and the archdiocese paid compensation to six victims. He was not defrocked until 1992. 

Carney is not on the sex offenders’ register in the UK.

The Daily Record states that Carney was spotted on the P & O cruise last month, apparently by another passenger who identified him as the predator priest.  “But here he was without a care in the world – and we were surrounded by families and children." The newspaper points out that P & O describes the Ventura cruise ship as “very family friendly,” with “fantastic children’s clubs and a play area for under-twos."

Carney is not the only pervert ex-priest who likes to cruise. 

George Neville Rucker - Cruise Ship Last year, we wrote about George Neville Rucker, an accused predator priest, who sailed on a cruise to South America. Rucker is a defrocked Los Angeles priest who was accused of sexually molesting 33 girls.

Over the years, we have written about sexual predators of all types, young men, old men, eccentric celebrities, child counselors, youth counselors, bartenders, audio visual technicians, pool cleaners, and even captains. Parents need to know not to trust anyone with their children during cruises.

The cruise lines share all types of information with themselves about passengers they don't want on their ships, like casino cheats, credit card scammers, and litigious cruisers. But they don't track smiley faced pedophiles.   

NCL Assistant Cruise Director Sentenced to Nine Years for Child Pornography

Today, a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) former assistant cruise director was sentenced to nine years in jail for possessing child pornography.

Senad Djedovic, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, was arrested earlier this year after he boasted about engaging in sexual relations with a 16 year old girl who sailed on the NCL Star cruise ship with her parents. 

After the cruise ended, Djedovic exchanged emails with the underage girl and received a number of sexually explicit photographs.

Other crew members on the NCL cruise ship observed the photos and learned the girl's age and reported Djedovic to NCL which contacted the FBI. A search of Djedovic's computers revealed child Senad Djedovic - NCL - Child Pornpornography. 

NCL employed Djedovic from 2005 to March 2012 aboard a number of different cruise ships. 

We wrote a series of articles this year about this case which you can review here, including videos of him singing on YouTube. 

After Djedovic was arrested, a number of crew members and friends came to his defense arguing that he should be acquitted because sex with a 16 year old is not a big deal and this kind of conduct is not illegal in most countries. We received bizarre comments to this blog to this effect.

Parents who consider cruising with their teenage daughters should take into consideration that this is the mentality of some crew members toward your underage children.

Sir Jimmy Savile, a "True Friend of Cunard:" Cruise Ship Pedophile?

Today I read an article on the BBC website stating that Cunard canceled a tribute to eccentric British television star Jimmy Savile who sailed regularly on Cunard ships, and other cruise ships, before his death.

For the U.S. readers of this blog unfamiliar with Mr. Savile, he was a popular disc jockey and television presenter for BBC Radio and Television. In the 1960's and 70's, he hosted the popular TV music program Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It which catered primarily to children. He was known for his fundraising and support of charities and hospitals. He was knighted by the Queen in 1990. 

Jimmy Savile - Sexual AbuseA few years before his death in 2011, things began to unravel for Sir Savile. He was the target of allegations of child sexual abuse. After he died in October last year, these allegations increased. Several women stepped forward to claim that Savile sexually abused them while they were girls.

Nonetheless, Cunard cruise line had planned a tribute to Savile where the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship would sail by Scarborough, where Savile was buried. BBC News reports that a Cunard spokesperson had previously characterized Savile as a frequent Cunard cruise passenger and a "true friend of Cunard."

But after an ITV documentary aired last week about Savile's alleged abuse of children, including girls on the premises of BBC, an additional 40 women reported that Savile abused them while they were children. The U.K. police described Savile as a "predatory sex offender" who had a "predilection" for young girls.

It was at this point that Cunard finally decided to distance itself from its celebrity passenger Sir Savile.  

The concern I have when I read stories like this is the safety of children on cruise ships. Pedophiles plan their lives to come into close association with children and will prey on them if the opportunity exists - whether it's a hospital, orphanage, BBC's premises, or a luxury cruise ship.

If you think it's far-fetched that a pedophile would target children on a cruise ship, consider the fact that a Cunard youth counselor, Paul Trotter, is currently in jail in the U.K. after pleading guilty to abusing at least 13 children over the course of many years while working throughout the Cunard fleet.  

I have not located any evidence that Savile sexually abused anyone on Cunard's ships, but there is some disturbing accounts that he may have abused girls on a P & O cruise ship.

Jimmy Savile - Cruise ship PassengerThe U.K.'s Mirror published an article indicating that two passengers notified the captain of a P & O cruise ship that Savile had acted inappropriately with their daughter during a cruise - "I Kicked Sleazy Jimmy Savile Off Cruise Ship." The article states that after the captain of the P & O Canberra heard the complaints of the parents of a 14 year old girl, the captain told Savile ". . . he disgusted me and I wanted him off my ship when we reached Gibraltar.”  

Back in the 1970's when the incident aboard the P & O cruise ship occurred, cruise lines did not report sexual perverts to the police.  That was long before laws existed that required cruise lines to report such shipboard crimes to the authorities. At best, all that happened was the captain would kick the pervert off at the next port.  That permitted the pedophile to continue his ways on other cruise ships.

Other newspapers have raised the issue whether Savile sexually assaulted children on cruise ships. The U.K.'s Express newspaper published an article written by a journalist who commented that Savile was a regular on Cunard cruise ships and he observed Savile ". . . leering at girls and young women in the hot tub."

Sir Savile last sailed with Cunard, on the Queen Elizabeth, in September 2011 - thirty-five years after he was accused of abusing a girl on a P & O ship and one month before he died.

October 17, 2012 Update: The Sun newspaper in the U.K. published an article today about "Sue" age 16 who recalled Jimmy Sevile's conduct aboard a P & O cruise ship back in 1978

 

Photo credit:

Top: Sydney Morning Herald

Bottom: Mirror 

Rape of 15 Year Old Girl Is Latest Crime Against Children on Carnival Cruises

Casey Dickerson - Carnival Cruise Rape AllegationThe alleged gang rape of a fifteen year old girl on the Carnival Sensation cruise ship has received international coverage with news stations across the U.S. and even the U.K. press covering the disturbing story of how a 31 year old passenger reportedly bought alcohol for four underage boys and they took turns raping the girl during a drunken party.

The alleged adult rapist reportedly has a criminal record as reported by another website which contains unflattering photographs of the suspect (left). 

The story of the rape broke on the same day that Carnival stated that it would start introducing $50 a day "all-you-can-drink" booze packages on its cruise ships.

As we have learned by handling numerous rape cases on cruise ships, there is a direct correlation between lots of cruise booze and violence against women and children.  Its a real problem considering there are no independent police officers on cruise ships and the few security guards cannot effectively handle the problem.

A newspaper in Australia quoted me yesterday saying: ". . . we see a direct correlation between excess alcohol and fights in bars, drunken underage girls, sexual violence . . . dealing with drunken violence on cruise ship is a challenge as there are no police officers on board and security staff are often stretched to the limit. Encouraging more people to drink more alcohol . . . will lead to more crimes during cruises."

If you have any doubt that there is a problem with children being raped on cruise ships, click on the "sexual assault of minors" or "rape" categories to the left.  Most sexual assault cases are not reported because the cruise lines typically require the victims and their parents to sign confidentiality agreements. Carnival Cruise Ship RapeBut one 16 year old girl, raped by a crew member on a Carnival cruise, refused to sign her rights away.

She had the strength to speak about her rape on ABC NEWS' Nightline program "Sex Crimes on Cruise Ships."

Unfortunately, the Carnival rapist (right) was sentenced to only 37 months in jail, whereas the child has to deal with the trauma for the rest of her life.

Watch the video, which also features two clients of our firm testifying before our U.S. Congress about being raped on cruise ships. The cruise line rapists in those cases were not even prosecuted.  

 

Photo credit:

Top: FanDaily

Bottom: US Attorneys Office

15 Year Old Girl Alleges Gang Rape on Carnival Sensation

 A local news station in central Florida is reporting that a 15 year old cruise passenger alleges that she was gang raped by other passengers while cruising aboard the Carnival Sensation cruise ship.

WFTV reports that one of their news reporters interviewed a man who was arrested for allegedly raping a a 15-year-old girl during a Carnival cruise. The news station reports that "investigators said the girl was raped on the Carnival Sensation cruise ship by the man who then encouraged other attackers to do the same."

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the teenage victim stated  that she and another friend, also 15, went to 31 year old Casey Dickerson's cabin with him and four other boys.

The newspaper states that once in the cabin, the girl said, Dickerson and the boys held her down and took turns having sex with her. 

At the same time, the victim's teenage friend was being held in the bathroom by one of the boys.

As Dickerson and the others sexually assaulted the victim, they told each other to "switch," so that they would change positions.

The girl said someone knocked on the door while she was being attacked and one of the boys answered it.

The girl said she was on the floor of the cabin, wearing only a bra, and after the person who knocked at the door left, Dickerson and the boys continued their sexual attacks, the complaint says.

The WFTV reporter, Jeff Deal, talked with the suspect, Dickerson, in jail. Dickerson denied raping anyone.

Carnival Cruise  Rape Allegation"According to investigators, a group of underage people asked Dickerson to buy them alcohol.

'You admit you bought alcohol for them?' Deal asked.

'I admit I bought alcohol,' said Dickerson.

Dickerson had access to two rooms because his wife had complained about noise early on in the cruise. Carnival gave them keys to a second room.

Investigators said the group started partying in the first room and that's where the 15-year-old claims she was essentially gang-raped.

Investigators said the girl first claims Dickerson raped her and then two underage boys raped her too.

Investigators said the boys said Dickerson told them to do it.

During the interview, Dickerson claimed he didn't know the age of the young people . . and when we pressed him on the rape allegations he suddenly decided to end the interview." 

 

Photo credit: WFTV

Court Rejects Carnival's Attempt to Dismiss Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Sexually Assaulted Girl

Yesterday a federal judge in Miami rejected a motion filed by Carnival Corporation seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of young girl who was sexually assaulted on a Carnival cruise ship.   

The case involved a nine year old girl who was raped on Carnival's Destiny cruise ship. The case is a reminder that sexual assaults against children occur during cruises, even when the children are entrusted to youth counselors on cruise ships. The case also shows how far cruise lines like Carnival will go to avoid legal responsibility when crimes occur during cruises.

The allegations against Carnival in this case were described as follows:

At the age of nine, the child took a cruise aboard Carnival’s Destiny cruise ship. She was accompanied on this cruise by several family members. During the cruise, and at a Carnival employee’s encouragement, the child's father signed her into a shipboard children’s program (“Camp Carnival”). The father told Camp Carnival personnel that his daughter was to stay with them until he returned for her. However, when the little girl asked for permission from the Camp Carnival staff member to attend a teen party with her cousin and friends, the staff member permitted her to go. After leaving Camp Carnival, the girl was physically and sexually assaulted.

The lawsuit alleges negligence on Carnival’s part in the false advertising of Camp Carnival, the failure to implement appropriate safety precautions, and the refusal to warn the child's parents of the numerous sexual assaults of passengers, including minors, during cruises.

The mother hired a lawyer in Florida and filed a lawsuit within three years of the rape.

Under federal maritime law, lawsuits involving minors must be filed within three years after the injury, or within one year from the date a legal representative is appointed for the minor (whichever date is shorter). 

Even though the lawsuit was timely filed both within three years of the rape and within one year since the mother was appointed as the child's legal guardian, Carnival moved to dismiss the case as "untimely." Carnival made a technical argument that the one year limitations period began to run when the mother learned of the crime or, alternatively, within one year after the mother retained a lawyer and the attorney sent a claim letter to Carnival. 

The Court rejected Carnival's argument and permitted the case to continue.

The child is represented by David Brill who is a skilled trial lawyer who represents crew members and passengers against cruise lines.

The motion to dismiss the child's case was filed by defense lawyer Lauren DeFabio of the Mase, Lara law firm.

 

Photo credit:  Maxum255 / Wikipedia

Watch CNN Special "Predators at Sea" - Are Your Kids Safe on Cruise Ships?

Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas - Sexual Predator Last night, CNN Anderson Cooper's program AC 360 took a look at the safety of women and children on cruise ships.

The program began with an interview with a girl who alleges that at age 15 she was sexually assaulted by who she describes as a uniformed Royal Caribbean crew member aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship. The crime occurred after the cruise employee let himself into the child's cabin while her parents were at a different part of the cruise ship. Like most cruise ship crime cases, the FBI did not arrest anyone and the crime remains unsolved.

A former U.S. Customs and Border agent and a former cruise ship security officer were interviewed. They stated that there is a 85% to 100% chance that a cruise ship leaving a port in Florida has a sexual predator aboard. Cruise ships are "magnets" for sexual predators and criminals know that cruise crimes are rarely reported and rarely investigated by the FBI. 

The cruise industry, predictably, released its talking points and stated that the safety of its guests is its highest priority. The cruise industry trade organization, Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), also stated that ship crime is rare. It went as far as to state that there are only a "handful" of crimes which occur during cruises based on the database required by a new cruise safety law.

Remarkably, the cruise industry did not mention that the cruise law was watered down to require the disclosure of only a fraction of the many hundreds of crimes which occur each year. We suspect that CLIA was behind the alteration of the cruise law in order to cover-up crimes like the one involving the girl on the Rhapsody of the Seas.

Watch the video below:    

 

CNN's "Safe at Sea" Series Investigates Sexual Assault of 15 Year Old Girl on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

Royal Caribbean Child Rape - Cruise Ship Crime Tonight, the CNN Anderson Cooper AC360 program aired a short documentary into the issue of the safety of children on the high seas, entitled "Safe at Sea."

The program focuses on a fifteen year old girl sailing with her family on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in 2010.  While her parents and siblings were at a different part of the ship, the young girl was in her cabin alone.  A crew member in uniform uses a pass key and enters the cabin unannounced and violently forces her to perform oral sex.

Terrified and distraught, the child did not immediately report the crime to her parents.

Our investigation into other crimes against children on Royal Caribbean cruise ships led us to the court ordered production of an internal report by Royal Caribbean which concluded that sexual misconduct occurs "frequently." The report concluded that as many as one-third of women and children sexually assaulted on Royal Caribbean cruise ships report the crime only after they have left the cruise ship and are back in the security of their home.  

In this case, the parents informed the local police in California of the shipboard crime who found the child's complaints to be "credible."  The police forwarded the complaints to the FBI.  The FBI investigation included collecting photographs of crew members selected by the cruise line which, not surprisingly, did not contain the predator's photo. The family thereafter never heard back from the FBI.

Child Sexual Assault - Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship The cruise line, however, paid a settlement to the child. On the CNN program tonight, the child (whose identify was protected for her privacy) stated that she felt the crew member was a predator and had done it before.

The program also contained an interview with a former U.S. Customs and Border official who stated that, in her experience, 85% of cruises contain at least one sexual predator on the cruise ship.  

The cruise industry's trade organization, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), attacked the former federal employee and released a statement to CNN stating that:

" . . . . it is disconcerting that this individual would irresponsibly offer such inflammatory and unfounded accusations."

This, in a nutshell, is the attitude of the cruise industry and cruise lines like Royal Caribbean toward victims.

A fifteen year old child is sexually assaulted during a cruise. Yet, the cruise line and the cruise industry offer no apologies to the child or her family.  

Instead, they attack those who dare to speak out in public about crimes on cruise ships.

Cruise Line International Association - CLIA Attacks Cruise Victim

Suspect Pleads Guilty of Raping Minor on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Rape - Sexual Assault A 20 year old Brazilian man pled guilty this week to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery in the rape of a 15 year old girl on the last night day of a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Broward Circuit Judge Matthew Destry sentenced Luiz Scavone to one year in jail and declared him a sexual offender.

Federal officials will then deport Scavone back to Brazil after he serves his jail sentence.  If Scavone returns to the United States, he will be required to notify corrections officials and be supervised as a sex offender. 

During the cruise, Scavone and a 15 year Brazilian teenager lured the young girl from a teen center back to their cabin where they took turns sexually assaulting her.

The crime took place on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas cruise ship. 

We previously reported on this sexual assault on the Allure of the Seas in our articles Two Rapes Alleged on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship and International Media Focuses on Royal Caribbean Cruise Rape Case

Former NCL Assistant Cruise Director Pleads Guilty to Child Porn

The Tampa Bay Times reports that yesterday a former Norwegian Cruise Lines crew member formally pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.  Earlier this month, the crew member agreed to make this plea. 

The case involves former NCL Assistant Cruise Director Senad Djedovic, age 29, from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Djedovic engaged in sexual relations with a 16 year old girl during a cruise last January. Later, Djedovic solicited naked images from the minor and reportedly received more than 20 pornographic images. 

Senad Djedovic - NCL Pervert - Child PornThe article points out that Djedovic used a NCL company computer to correspond with the teen and receive the images. 

Cruise Law News reported on the case back in February in our article "FBI Arrests NCL Assistant Cruise Director for Engaging in Sex With 16 Year Old Passenger & Child Pornography."

We mentioned that under a sub-folder entitled "scandals" there were several videos depicting sexual acts with 12 to 15 year old girls, which were downloaded from the internet. The Department of Justice charged Djedovic with sexual abuse of a minor and possessing materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

Djedovic worked for Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) for six years for a number of different NCL cruise ships.

Light Sentence for Cunard Child Predator

A judge in the U.K. has sentenced a notorious child predator who filmed himself sexually abusing children on Cunard cruise ships to jail for four years.

Cunard child supervisor Paul Trotter, age 34, worked as a "play zone supervisor" on the Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary II cruise ships where he sexually abused children. 

Also referred to as a cruise line "au pair," Potter was arrested only after the police in England caught him only while investigating child pornography over the internet. Newspapers in the U.K. are reporting that the police discovered "almost 1,000 indecent images of children and the investigation uncovered abuse stretching back over a decade and spanning the globe."

The prosecuting attorney told the court that it was "clear that some films had been shot covertly on the cruise liners where he had worked."

Paul Trotter - Cunard Child Predator - Cruise ShipTrotter, formerly of Salisbury, but now living in Pontefract, Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of sexual assault of a child, five of taking, five making and one possession of indecent images of children.

According to the Salisbury Journal,  the sentencing judge told Trotter: “It is most disturbing to see you have been employed with children up to now; firstly as an au pair but then working with Cunard shipping line on their cruise ships looking after the young children of passengers . . . When the parents dropped their children off you led them to believe they would be in safe hands and nothing remotely like this would happen to them. Whilst abusing them you filmed them, and filmed them for your own sexual gratification.”

We have written several articles about Trotter and Cunard's handling of the matter.

There is some new information in the recent newspaper coverage:

  • Trotter's victims were as young as seven years (7) old.  This may come to some comfort to parents of toddlers, although it is less than clear whether the police have ruled out that Trotter abused younger victims.
  • Trotter liked to film himself spanking the boys on their bare bottoms or over their clothes, and then watch the video in his cabin for his sexual gratification.
  • Trotter possessed 900 - 1,000 images of children, ranging in seriousness from level 1 to level 5 (this must be scale of pornography in the U.K.) 
  • Trotter intended to open up a nursery after leaving Cunard.

Unfortunately, this is a story that the U.S. media has largely ignored even though the Cunard cruise ships called on U.S. ports such as New York and South Florida and sailed with American families. Cunard has released no information to the U.S. public.  You can read our thoughts here:

Cruise Ship "Prey Zones" - U.S. Media Ignores Widespread Sexual Abuse Of Children On Cunard Cruise Ships 

Although the judge found that Trotter had a "deep obsession" with little boys and presented a danger to the public, he demonstrated leniency in his sentence. An order of four years in jail for 13 admitted victims? What a joke.  One English family member whose child was victimized stated:

“We are extremely disappointed in the sentence given to Paul Trotter. We do not believe this sentence is a strong enough deterrent to paedophiles . This is a man who admitted to police that he was aware of his predilection for abusing young boys. We hope that all organisations who provide care for children will use this experience to take a fresh look at their own policies, tighten up procedure and consider reviewing them with external experts to ensure the very best safeguarding of children. That’s about the only positive that may come out of this nightmare."

Another newspaper quoted the family saying: "Long after this calculating and evil man leaves prison, we face the prospect of our children coming to understand fully what happened to them and the possible long-term impact of the abuse."

NCL Assistant Cruise Director Admits to Child Pornography

NCL Senad Djedovic - Child PornographyThe Tampa Bay Times reports that a former assistant NCL Cruise Director, last employed aboard the Norwegian Star cruise ship, who had sex in a stairwell with a 16 year old passenger, agreed to plead guilty today to possessing child pornography.

NCL employee Senad Djedovic, met the minor girl from Minnesota on a cruise which departed Tampa on January 29th and returned on February 5th. 

"I wish you said yes way earlier than the last day because we would have way more fun," NCL's Djedovic wrote to her in an email, according to the plea agreement. "I miss you big time … you little young girl."

Djedovic stored about 20 photos of the victim who sent emails from Minnesota after the cruise. She was naked in most. After Djedovic was arrested, the FBI found additional videos and photos of minors engaging in sexual activities.

Cruise Law News reported on the case back in February in our article "FBI Arrests NCL Assistant Cruise Director for Engaging in Sex With 16 Year Old Passenger & Child Pornography." 

We mentioned that under a sub-folder entitled "scandals" there were several videos depicting sexual acts with 12 to 15 year old girls, which were downloaded from the internet. The Department of Justice charged Djedovic with sexual abuse of a minor and possessing materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

29 year old Senad Djedovic, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, worked for Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) for six years for a number of different NCL cruise ships.

There are a lot of weird YouTube videos of him as a NCL assistant CD singing on the NCL cruise ships.  Think that there are no sexual perverts hired by the cruise lines who are preying on your kids? Think again.

 

Cruise Child Predator - Did Paul Trotter Molest More Than 13 Children on Cunard Cruise Ships?

The Sun newspaper in London contains some new and troubling information about who it is describing as the the "vile" kids’ activity supervisor on Cunard luxury cruise liners. 

Prior newspaper accounts have avoided stating exactly when Trotter began working for Cunard and when he ended his employment.  It would be a simple matter for Cunard to explain his exact dates of employment and include information explaining when he worked on Cunard's three cruise ships, the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.  Such information may provide some peace of mind for concerned parents.

But instead there is no such information publicly available.

The Sun's article Cruise Ship Pervert’s Sex Assaults on Kids indicates that Trotter worked on Cunard cruise ships for seven (7) years and supervised children over the course of two hundred and ninety-five (295) cruises. Prior accounts suggest he worked for 4 to 5 years. 

It further states that he admitted to 24 sexual offenses involving "involving victims aged between seven and 13 — mostly boys."  He filmed himself abusing the child and was also caught with child pornography he down loaded from the internet.  The specific offenses are as follows: 

Cunard Child Supervisor - Paul TrotterHe admitted 12 counts of sexual assaulting a child under the age of 13, one count of sexual activity with a child under the age of 13, five counts of taking indecent images of a child, five of making indecent images of a child and one of possessing indecent images of a child.

Many families who cruised with Cunard are understandably concerned about whether Trotter abused other children. One person who left a comment on the Sun article:

"My son was in the care of this sick pervert on several occasions, NSPCC refered my complaint back to Cunard and violated confidentiality. I want to find out what were the ages of victims, I suspect toddlers. Trust me, there may be hundreds of victims, he was the supervisor of childrens programs on all 3 Cunard ships."  

Read our other articles about Mr. Trotter here

Frommer's Names Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria "Best Cruise Ships For Kids," Even Though 13 Kids Were Sexually Abused on Cunard Ships

Today, Frommer's travel website published an article "Best Cruise Ships For Kids."

When I saw the title, I thought to myself: oh no, not Frommer's.  The Frommer's people didn't include any of the Cunard cruise ships on its "best for kids" list did it? I prayed not.  I held my breath and clicked on the article - Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria - two of the "best cruise ships for kids."  

Jesus Christ.

There are times I become so angry at the way that cruise lines and travel writers work that I want to rip my monitor from the computer and smash it against the wall.

For the past three months I have been writing about the disturbing case case of a Cunard youth supervisor, Paul Trotter, who was investigated in January and arrested in February of this year for the Cunard Cruise Ship Child Sexual Predator sexual abuse of a child on a Cunard cruise ship.  I was the first one in the U.S. to write about it.  You can read the articles here and here.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.  

Where there is an arrest of a sexual predator for victimizing a child, there are at least a dozen victims.  

I asked in a follow-up article two months ago how many other children did the Cunard youth counselor sexually molest?  After all he worked on several Cunard cruise ships for 4 to 5 years. Many thousand of little kids were dropped of by their unsuspecting parents in the "play zone" managed by "certified" children specialists like Trotter. 

Since then I have corresponded back and forth with the English press.  Our firm has represented around 80 children and women sexually assaulted on cruise ships, including several women who have testified before our U.S. Congress.  "Do you represent other victims of Trotter?" the British press inquired. "What do you know about how many children were involved? I responded. There was little known about the extent of the harm to children on either side of the Atlantic.

The police officers in the U.K investigating the issue kept mum, but clearly they were onto something big.

Last week we learned that that the investigating police officers were going to release a statement. The truth emerged: Trotter molested at least 13 boys. To boot, the sick pervert took video of himself abusing some of the children, the police stated.

I immediately blogged about the serial Cunard child predator.  I posted my article on facebook, tweeted about it to my 9,000 Twitter followers, emailed the blog to 1,000 subscribers and sent it out on the RSS feed.  For the past week, I have written additional articles about the Cunard predator who worked on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria cruise ships.

Cunard Queen Mary Play ZoneThe police said that Trotter molested the children when he was assigned to the children's "play zone" on the ships.

The same kid friendly "play zone" from the Queen Mary 2 that Frommer's depicted in its article

It might as well be called a "prey zone" if truth be known.

Most U.S. travel writers and supposedly reputable newspapers looked the other way. Only a couple of cruise bloggers touched the story.  Why upset their cruise sales or anger the cruise line advertisers, especially with so much bad cruise news these days? 

There are many travel writers and journalists who are unabashed shills for the cruise industry, the Miami Herald being at the top of the list.  (The Miami Herald has not written about the Cunard child sex crimes even though Cunard is owned by Miami-based Carnival.)

But Frommer's is not in that bunch of unethical vagabonds and cruise cheerleaders.  Arthur Frommer was one of the few travel writers who congratulated the International Victims Organization for its five year struggle against the cruise industry to obtain the passage of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act which President Obama signed into law to protect cruise passengers.  Arthur Frommer is a man of integrity, known for his straight moral compass. He is certainly not the cruise lines' bitch.

So how did Frommer's pick two Cunard cruise ships where unspeakable crimes against children occurred?  The best cruise ships for kids?  Why not just pour salt into the wounds of the parents grieving the loss of their children's innocence? Why did Frommer's include a photograph of the crime scene where Trotter abused the little innocent victims, for Christ's sake?

I'm don't know.  Perhaps someone at Frommer's can explain?   

 

Photo credit: QM 2 "Play Zone" - Cunard via Frommer's    

Cruise Ship "Prey Zones" - U.S. Media Ignores Widespread Sexual Abuse Of Children On Cunard Cruise Ships

Yesterday, we reported on the case of Cunard cruise youth supervisor Paul Trotter who was arrested in February after police in England were tipped off that his home computer contained indecent images of children. When the police seized his computer, they realized that Trotter had filmed himself sexually abusing the children on the cruise ships.

We reported on the story after reading a police statement which indicated that the abuse occurred in and/or around the children's "play zone area."  Many cruises lines have lax policies and procedures and permit adult crew members to be alone with children and take them into the bathrooms in the children's clubs.

Paul Trotter - Cunard - Sexual Abuse of Children The police had the difficult task of identifying the victims, and then faced the unpleasant task of informing the parents that their children were molested by the youth counselor whom they entrusted with their children's safety during a family cruise.  

I posted an article about this disgusting set of circumstances early yesterday morning. There were already two articles posted in England.  I anticipated that the U.S. press would soon follow.  After all, Cunard is owned by Miami-based Carnival and many thousands of U.S. families have sailed aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria cruise ships.

The police found evidence that Trotter abused at least 13 children.  But he worked for Cunard for many years, some articles say 4 years others say 5 years.  Although one victim is too many and 13 victims is a lot, do you think that is all of the victims?  Trotter enjoyed the luxury of waiting for his victims in the "play zone" over the course of hundreds and hundreds of cruises where unsuspecting families dropped their kids off to be watched by him.  

We know from the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case and the failures of the Catholic Church for decades, that sexual predators who target kids cannot be cured. They will abuse children for decades.  First there's one victim, then 2 or 3, then a dozen, and then the public comes to the uneasy realization that there must be many more but there will never be a definitive list. Victims, particularly child victims, are afraid to tell their parents what happened and try to suppress the trauma out of shame or confusion.  

Were U.S. children victimized by Trotter in the children's "play zones" of the three Cunard ships?  Only the most naive person would think not.  

Is Trotter the only child predator who worked for Cunard or Carnival?  Only the most naive person would think so. 

The "play zones" were Trotter's "prey zones" where he would target his victim, groom the child, and then engage in his depravity while videotaping the crime - probably in a bathroom.      

At the end of the day yesterday, there were over a hundred articles about Mr. Trotter all showing his creepy looking mug shot. All of the articles were in the U.K. and in other European countries.

Not a single U.S. newspaper or television / cable news covered the shocking news.  Only this blog, Cruise Law News.

I emailed the articles to news reporters, tweeted about the crimes and challenged the local newspaper and bloggers who cover cruise news to address the issue. Everyone remained silent.  Their journalistic ethics of honestly reporting on an important story fell short of their financial self-interest of not losing cruise sales or not embarrassing Cunard or Carnival or CEO Micky Arison.  As I write this follow up article this Saturday morning, the U.S. media remains silent. 

Newspapers like the Miami Herald and USA Today are deep in the cruise lines' pockets.  The cruise lines advertise heavily in the larger newspapers, and the "journalists" simply look the other way when stories appear that may embarrass their cruise lines friends.  I have warned for years about this problem. Take a moment and read Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships or Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place to Sexually Abuse Children.

Newspapers like the Miami Herald and USA Today should be ashamed.  They do the public a terrible disservice not warning parents of the dangers posed to children on cruise ships. They are happy to write puff pieces for Carnival and Cunard but avert their eyes when things go terribly wrong.  They are complicit with the Carnivals and Cunards who don't protect the children and then choose their marketing reputation over the children's welfare. 

 

 

Who's reporting on the Cunard / Paul Trotter story as of April 21, 2012:

U.S.A:  

Cruise Law News

U.K / Ireland:

BBC News Telegraph Mail Online The Sun Daily Echo Lancashire Evening Post Pontefract and Castleford Express ITV News The Independent Swindon Advertiser Belfast Telegraph Bourne Local Huffington Post UK MSNBC News UK Isle of Man Today and a hundred others in England.


Update of U.S. Media reporting on Cunard / Paul Trotter:

Old Salt Blog - April 21, 2012

Cruise Radio - April 22, 2012

South Florida Business Journal - April 23, 2012

Sun Sentinel - April 24, 2012

Cruise Critic - April 24, 2012

Cunard Child Supervisor Admits Sexually Abusing 13 Boys During Cruises

Newspapers in the U.K. are reporting that a former child supervisor who worked on Cunard cruise ships admitted to the police that he sexually abused children on cruise ships.

Two months ago we reported on the arrest of Paul Trotter, who worked on Cunard's Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria cruise ships. Police arrested him on allegations that he sexually assaulted a minor on a Cunard cruise ship.  Child predators of course don't abuse just one victim.  Our blog in February was entitled "Did Cunard Child Supervisor Molest Other Children During Cruises?"

Well now we know that he has admitted to sexually abusing at least thirteen (13) children between Paul Trotter - Cunard Child Sexual PredatorNovember 2007 and August 2011.  

According to the Daily Echo newspaper in the U.K., Trotter was also in possession of graphic film of the children he abused on the cruise ships. A police spokesperson said:

''The contents of his computer were examined and revealed that he had filmed himself abusing children in his care.

Many of these films were made on board three cruise ships operated by Cunard, where Trotter was employed in the children's play zone area."

Here's the account from the Independent newspaper in London:

"A former Cunard cruise ship worker has admitted carrying out sex attacks on 13 boys while working as a supervisor for a children's activity area.

Paul Trotter, 34, pleaded guilty to a string of sexual assaults and taking, making and possessing indecent images of children, most of whom were under the age of 13 at the time.

The supervisor made films of himself abusing the children in his care on board three cruise ships, operated by Cunard. He also possessed other indecent images of children he had obtained online.

In a statement Cunard, part of the Carnival Corporation group and owners of the Costa Concordia which ran aground earlier this year, said it was "deeply shocked" by Trotter's 'appalling crimes'.

It added he had avoided detection despite a number of safeguards, including having had his criminal record checked.

Trotter, from Pontefract, West Yorkshire, appeared at Swindon Crown Court, dressed in a suit and purple tie.

He admitted 12 counts of sexual assaulting a child under the age of 13, one count of sexual activity with a child under the age of 13, five counts of taking indecent images of a child, five of making indecent images of a child and one of possessing indecent images of a child.

The offences were committed from November 2007 to August 2011 when he arrested by Wiltshire Police's child abuse investigation unit.

Judge Douglas Field told Trotter, who was living in Wiltshire at the time of his arrest, he would be held in custody to return before the same court on May 11 for sentencing.

He also ordered him to sign the sexual offences register before he was taken back to prison."

The revelation of a prolific cruise ship child sexual predator comes at a bad time for Carnival (which owns Cunard) and the cruise industry in general.  First, the Costa Concordia capsized leaving 32 dead. Earlier this week Carnival was under siege for the outrageous conduct of a Princess cruise ship which ignored the distress pleas from a disabled fishing boat.  Two young men (ages 16 and 24) died. Carnival also owns Princess and Costa cruise lines.  

Think sexual abuse of children on cruises is rare?  Read our articles about the danger here.

 

Sources:

Independent newspaper

Swindon Advertiser

Read our first article about Paul Trotter here.

Royal Caribbean Crew Member Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse of 14 Year Old Passenger

A Royal Caribbean crew member has pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a 14 year old girl during a Caribbean cruise.

25 year old Fabian Palmer admitted engaging in sexual relations with the girl during a cruise from Baltimore in December 2010.

Crew member Palmer was employed by Royal Caribbean as a pool attendant and interacted regularly with passengers during cruises.  He met the girl and her family earlier during the cruise. 

Palmer took the child into a men's locker room on the Enchantment of the Seas and engaged in sexual acts in the bathroom.  You can read more about this crime, and similar incidents, in our Fabian Palmer - Royal Caribbean - Sexual Abuse of Minorarticles BUSTED! Another Crew Member Arrested for Allegedly Raping on Cruise and Royal Caribbean Crew Member Arrested for Sexually Abusing 14 Year Old Girl.  

He faces imprisonment with a maximum sentence of 15 years.  His sentencing is June 29th in Baltimore. 

As part of the plea agreement, the crew member must register as a sexual predator where he lives and where he works.  To my knowledge, there are no sexual predators databases or programs in Jamaica where Palmer is from.   

In an unusual move, it was the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) which issued the press statement announcing the guilty plea.  The FBI has increasingly been criticized for its reluctance to involve itself in shipboard crimes.  

 

Photo Credit:  Fabian Palmer facebook

FBI Arrests NCL Assistant Cruise Director for Engaging in Sex With 16 Year Old Passenger & Child Pornography

The Federal Bureau of Investigations ("FBI") arrested the assistant cruise director of the Norwegian Star cruise ship for engaging in sex with a 16 year old passenger and possessing child pornography.   

29 year old Senad Djedovic, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, worked for Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) for six years for a number of different NCL cruise ships 

The 16 year old girl, from Minnesota, was sailing with her family on a 7 day cruise out of Tampa at the end of January.  Djedovic met the girl shortly after she boarded the cruise.  At the end of the cruise he engaged in sex with her in a stairwell on the cruise.  After the cruise, Djedovic exchanged Senad Djedovic - NCL - Cruise Ship Sexual Abuse emails with the girl which included explicit images and a video of him masturbating in front of a photo of the child. 

One email included the message: I miss you big time . . . you little young girl."  

The child 's father allegedly told him earlier in the cruise that she was 16 years old.  He apparently admitted to other crew members that she was only 16. 

The FBI seized his computer which contained child pornography on a hard drive.  Under a sub-folder entitled "scandals" there were several videos depicting sexual acts with 12 to 15 year old girls, which were downloaded from the internet. 

The Department of Justice charged Djedovic with sexual abuse of a minor and possessing materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors.  

Sexual abuse of minors during cruise by cruise staff and older passengers is one of the real dangers on cruise ships.  Last month we reported on a Cunard children's activities supervisor being arrested for child sexual abuse

You can read about many other cases where crewmembers possessed child pornography or crewmembers and passengers sexually abused minors during cruises here, involving all of the major cruise lines - Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean.

Are Cruise Ships a Perfect Place to Commit Crimes?

Rebecca Coriam - Missing - Disney Wonder Cruise ShipFollowing the airing of "Lost at Sea" program on Australia's Dateline television program, a newspaper in Australia published a short article entitled: "Cruise Ships Perfect Ground for Predators - Investigation."

The Herald Sun mentions our firm and the case of Rebecca Coriam who disappeared from the Disney cruise ship Wonder.  The article also mentions case of members of the International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization:

"Criminals are more likely to get away with serious crimes on cruise ships than anywhere else, a maritime lawyer has warned, with 200 people vanishing at sea worldwide in the past decade.

Jim Walker said about half the disappearances have some factor of foul play.

"The place to get away with a crime is on a cruise ship,'' he told the SBS program Dateline.

"The place to be a sexual predator and prey on children is on a cruise ship."

"If you're a rapist, you're more likely to get away with committing the crime on a cruise ship on the high seas.

"All of this is happening out in international waters, typically.

"There are no policemen on the scene . . . You can't summons a police officer who will run onto the crime scene. So they're out there by themselves.'' 

In Australia, the death of Australian woman Dianne Brimble received widespread media coverage with Dianne Brimble - Cruise Ship Victimstrong criticism of the party culture that existed aboard cruise ships.

Ms Brimble died aboard a P&O Cruise ship of a drug overdose after consuming a date rape drug and is alleged to have received callous treatment from passengers she was with at the time of taking the drug.

Mr. Walker said the cruise industry knew it had a problem more than a decade ago and tried to fix it through slick advertising and marketing, rather than taking the hard steps they needed to really clean their act up.

"You have cabin attendants now who are being hired from Third World countries - no disrespect to small Caribbean islands - that have no databases.

"You can't track them even if you wanted to."

"You don't know what you're getting. But you're hiring a 28-year-old man to be responsible for 12-year-old girls' cabin.

"Mum and dad don't know what's happening. They're at the casino, they're at the show, they're up at the nightclub, and the cabin attendant gets back into the cabin - that's still happening. Those cases are still happening.''

While the cruise industry has followed some guidelines, such as installing peepholes in cabin doors, Dateline reporter Nick Lazaredes said few ships had upgraded their video systems or installed man-overboard alarm systems.

Those who have gone missing at sea include 23-year-old English woman Rebecca Coriam, who disappeared while working on the Disney Wonder cruise ship.

Her family was shocked to learn that there would be no US involvement in investigating her disappearance.

When the family of 20-year-old son Blake Kepley, who went missing on a family cruise to Alaska, Merrian Carver - Missing - Celebrity Cruisesrequested that the captain review footage from security cameras, they were told that wasn't possible.

Ken Carver's 40-year-old daughter, Merrian, also vanished off a Celebrity Cruises voyage to Alaska in 2004.

Mr Carver, who is now president of an activist group called International Cruise Victims, said he was stonewalled at every turn as he searched for answers to her disappearance.

The story eventually became the subject of five congressional hearings, which resulted in America's cruise, vessel and safety act.

The newspaper contained links to some of the more disturbing stories the cruise lines would prefer you not know about:

CBS: Woman Speaks Out About Cruise Ship Crime

BBC: Cruise Passengers 'Not Protected From Serious Crime'

Guardian: Rebecca Coriam - Lost at Sea

ABC (US): Cruise Cover-Up?

I am also posting the Dateline Special "Lost at Sea" in case you have not seen it yet:

 

Did Cunard Child Supervisor Molest Other Children During Cruises?

Earlier this week, we reported on the arrest of former Cunard child supervisor Paul Trotter on allegations that he abused a child and possessed indecent photographs of children on his computer.

The British police investigated Mr. Trotter (photo below, playing piano on Cunard cruise ship) after the parents of a child, identified only as being under the age of thirteen, brought the matter to the attention of authorities after the cruise.  The initial newspaper articles indication that Mr. Trotter worked aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth cruise ships, although one reader brought to my attention that he also worked aboard Cunard's Queen Victoria.

You can read our last article about Mr. Trotter here.

Cunard Cruise Children Activities Supervisor Paul TrotterThe disturbing thing with Mr. Trotter is that he reportedly worked for Cunard on various cruise ships over the course of five years.  The issue arises whether he allegedly molested other children during cruises. 

It is currently unknown whether Cunard terminated Mr. Trotter's employment or whether he voluntarily resigned.

Any expert in child sexual abuse will tell you that child predators are extremely manipulative and will position themselves to interact with children to satisfy their deviant sexual interests.  They cannot be cured.  They will abuse children again and again if given an opportunity.

It would be naive to think that any sexual predator, working for years and years with children, abused only one child and was promptly caught and prosecuted for that singular crime.  Although the police investigation resulted in an arrest on charges of abusing one child, we know that the British police announced that they are speaking with the families of other children in England who cruised with Cunard as well. 

We have been contacted by other families who cruised on Cunard asking for information on Mr. Trotter - what cruise ships did he work on and exactly when was he a child supervisor on these ships? 

We asked Cunard for this information.  We will update this article if we receive a response.

Certainly families who cruised with Cunard are entitled to know whether an alleged child predator was supervising their children during their cruises?

 February 16, 2012 Update:  Cunard's response is below:

"We are deeply shocked by these allegations as the safety and well being of our customers is of paramount importance to us.  A thorough police investigation is underway which we are supporting and co-operating with fully.  Given that the police inquiry is ongoing, we cannot comment any further or answer any questions at this stage.

What we can say is that we are working closely with the National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a UK-based charity which specializes in supporting children and families to ensure that affected families and children are offered appropriate support.  Following these allegations being made, we also asked the NSPCC to conduct an independent comprehensive review of our facilities, policies and procedures.  This review is underway and we will be implementing any recommendations resulting from this review." 

April 20, 2012 Update:  Cunard Youth Supervisor Admits to Sexually Abusing 13 Boys During Cruises
 

Photo credit: stretch gp23 YouTube

Cunard Child Supervisor Arrested for Sexually Molesting Child During Cruise

Several news stations in the U.K. are reporting that the police arrested a former Cunard crewmember on charges that he sexually molested at least one child during a cruise.

Paul Trotter, age 34, of Pontefract, West Yorkshire, in the U.K., is alleged to have abused the child between December 20, 2011 and January 5, 2012 while working in the children's child activities facility on an undisclosed Cunard cruise ship.   His official job title was "children's activity supervisor" for Cunard.  He was also charged with possessing indecent photographs of children. 

We reported on the fact that the police in England were investigating child molestation on Cunard cruise ships last month in our article:  Did a Cunard Child Predator Molest Children Aboard the QM2 & Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ships?

Queen Mary 2 - Child Molestation?The police in England started the investigation after a parent of one of the abused children tipped the police.   Although the U.K. media is referring to only one abused child at this point, the police have interviewed several families in England, Mr. Trotter worked for five years for Cunard  on Cunard’s flagship, the Queen Mary 2, and its sister cruise ships, the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Victoria.

These Cunard cruise ships carried passengers of course from many other countries, including the U.S.

So far, Cunard has not disclosed the incident to the public nor informed families who they should contact for information.

Cunard's website refers to "Children's Activities" and assure parents that their kids are safe: " . . . you can be certain that they are in the best of care with our certified Early Years staff . . . " 

Molestation of children by cruise employees is one of the cruise industry's nastiest secrets.  You can read about the problem in our prior blog articles, including Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children.

February 16, 2012 Update: Did Cunard Child Supervisor Molest Other Children During Cruises?

April 20, 2012 Update:  Trotter Admits He Sexually Abused 13 Boys

Royal Caribbean President's Email Blast Insults Crime Victims

Yesterday one of my clients, who I will call Jane Doe, contacted me after receiving an unsolicited email from the President of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Adam Goldstein.

The e-mail addressed her by her first name.  It seemed to be personalized to her.  It recognized her as a past customer and contained statements like:

"At Royal Caribbean International, the safety and security of our guests and crew is our highest priority. It is fundamental to our operations. Our maritime safety record over our 42-year history Royal Caribbean Cruises  - Adam Goldstein illustrates our commitment to the safety of the millions of guests and crew that sail on our ships."  

President Goldstein's email outraged Jane Doe.   You see, she had just returned home with her young daughter who had been raped on President Goldstein's cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas.  

Goldstein's unsolicited email to a rape victim's mom had nothing to do with the humiliating shipboard rape suffered by Jane Doe's daughter, one of many rapes of children on the Royal Caribbean fleet over the years.  Instead, it was part of this cruise line's media campaign to try and distance itself from the negative fall out following the deadly Costa Concordia disaster.

Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line making such public statements following the Concordia crash.  You can watch Royal Caribbean's slick video touting the safety of cruising here.  President Goldstein's blog is here.  "Safety is in our DNA."  "Cruising is the safest form of transportation."  "The safety and security of our guests is our highest priority."  Royal Caribbean covered all of the cruise industry's talking points in its video, the president's blog and its e-mail blast below.    

Of course, in truth, Goldstein's email was not a personalized message to Jane Doe.  He does not know her from the man in the moon, even though her daughter was raped on the cruise line's showpiece megaship and the biggest cruise ship in the world. 

Royal Caribbean spammed Goldstein's email to every single family who had sailed with them.  This was an intentional and reckless stunt, considering that hundreds of women and children have reportedly been sexually assaulted during Royal Caribbean cruises over the years.  Certainly, the cruise line knew that its former customers who are victims of crime, and whose names remain in its customer database, would feel salt being poured into their wounds upon reading Goldstein's email in their personal email accounts.      

Insensitive & thoughtless, if not outrageous?   Definitely.  But Goldstein is not thinking of his customer's feelings.  He is motivated by his cruise line's bottom line.  He wants to reassure his customers that it is safe to return to cruising, whether that is true or not. 

This is hardly the first time this has happened.

In 2006, one of my clients, Laurie Dishman (photo right), was brutally raped by a part time Royal Caribbean security guard with a Royal Caribbean Crime Victim Laurie Dishman prior record of sexually harassing passengers.   She retained us to represent her.  I sent a handful of letters to President Goldstein, asking for our client's medical records, her statement, and the name and address of the Royal Caribbean employee who raped Laurie.  We received nothing in response.  Goldstein ignored us.

The only things Laurie initially received from Royal Caribbean were unsolicited emails inviting Laurie to return for another "cruise of a lifetime" on a Royal Caribbean ship.  The emails continued for over a year.  Each email popping into her computer's email in-box took Laurie back to the scene of the crime and reactivated a sense of panic and stress.  It was only after a half dozen letters of protest from us, and a Congressional investigation into the crime initiated by Laurie's Congresswoman in 2007, that the cruise line scrubbed her from its marketing database.

We pleaded for Royal Caribbean to implement a system to remove a passenger's information from the company's marketing database whenever a passenger was raped, killed or lost a loved one overboard during a cruise.  Believe me, cruise vacationers don't want promotional brochures in their mail boxes after a family member has been raped or lost at sea.    

It looks like Royal Caribbean ignored that request too. 

President Goldstein's blog talks in grandiose terms about the Costa Concordia crash being a "defining moment" for the cruise industry.  He promises a renewed commitment to passenger safety.  Let's hope that's true. 

But when a cruise line president sends an e-mail blast to the mother of a child raped during a cruise, you wonder whether cruise line executives like Goldstein really get it.   

 

Photo credits:

Adam Goldstein - Royal Caribbean Flickr page

Laurie Dishman - Sacramento Bee

 

ROYAL CARIBBEAN EMAILS ADAM GOLDSTEIN'S LETTER TO MILLIONS OF CRUISE CUSTOMERS:

Dear XXX, 

All of us at Royal Caribbean International continue to extend our heartfelt sympathies to those affected by Carnival Corporation's recent tragic incident on the Costa Concordia. As a Crown & Anchor Society member and loyal Royal Caribbean guest, we know you may have some questions as the situation continues to unfold.

At Royal Caribbean International, the safety and security of our guests and crew is our highest priority. It is fundamental to our operations. Our maritime safety record over our 42-year history illustrates our commitment to the safety of the millions of guests and crew that sail on our ships. The measures we take in the interest of safety are many, often exceeding the regulatory requirements – these are all part of our ongoing commitment to innovation and continuous improvement in every aspect of our business.

To address some of your questions and concerns, here is a video that will provide an overview of safety onboard our ships; the training of our crew, officers and captains; and the many regulations that govern our practices. Click here to watch.

As a past cruiser, we know your friends and family may be asking about your own time at sea. We hope that you'll share this video along with your personal Royal Caribbean experiences with them, and reinforce that cruising continues to maintain the best safety record of any industry in travel.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you aboard again soon on one of our ships sailing to 270 destinations worldwide.

Sincerely,

Adam Goldstein
President and CEO
Royal Caribbean International

Did a Cunard Child Predator Molest Children Aboard the QM2 & Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ships?

The Mail Online in the U.K. reports tonight that a crewmember who worked aboard two of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships is being investigated by police on suspicions that he sexually assaulted children during the cruises. 

The newspaper reports that the Cunard crew member who allegedly carried out his indecent conduct worked for Cunard for over five years on Cunard’s flagship, the Queen Mary 2, and its sister cruise ship, the Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Mary 2 - Cunard Child Predator?  Detectives in England started the investigation after a parent of one of the abused children tipped the police.   So far, the detectives have interviewed several families in England.   The crewmember suspected of the crimes lives in Wiltshire, in England.

These Cunard cruise ships carried passengers of course from many other countries, including the U.S.

According to this account, the crewmember left Cunard's employment before the police probe began six months ago but has been interviewed by detectives in Wiltshire.  The detectives have apparently examined photographic and computer equipment at the man’s home.

The UK newspaper indicates that Cunard refuses to identify the job position of the the former crew member, "but he is known to have been a low-ranking employee who had regular, close contact with passengers on board."   Based on this description, its sounds like the alleged child predator probably worked as a cabin attendant or a youth counselor.

Sexual molestation of children on cruises is an ugly topic we have written about many times before.  You can read more cases than you want to know about little kids being sexually abused on cruises here.

These two Cunard cruise ships are part of the larger Carnival fleet of cruise ships.  Carnival owns Cunard.  This is the last thing that Carnival wants to be in the press at this time, as it is reeling from the bad publicity after another one of the cruise brand it owns, Costa Cruises, ran a $500,000,000 cruise ship into the rocks and killed around 30 of its guests.

A reckless captain who abandons ship while passengers are drowning in the submerged cabins of the Costa Concordia?  A child predator who worked aboard the Cunard QM2 and Queen Elizabeth for 5 years? 

What's the next shoe to drop in the Carnival fleet? 

February 16, 2012 Update: Did Cunard Child Supervisor Molest Other Children During Cruises?

BUSTED! Another Cremember Arrested for Allegedly Raping Girl on Cruise

Yesterday we published an article about a Royal Caribbean crew member who sexually assaulted a 14 year old girl aboard the Adventure of the seas cruise ship.  You can read about the alleged crime here

You can read the criminal complaint and violence of the alleged act here.

This case involves a Roal Caribbean "pool attendant" Fabian Palmer who seems to befriendly with all ages of the opposite sex.

The mugshot of the arrested Royal Caribbean crewmember is below:

Fabian Palmer - Royal Caribbean Cruise - Sexual Assault  

Read our prior article: Royal Caribbean Crewmember Indicted For Sexually Abusing 14 Year Old Girl

Think sexual assault of children is "rare" as the cruise lines want you to believe?  Consider reading these articles:

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships - A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Should Travel Agents Be Liable For Falsely Representing That Cruises Are Safe For Kids?

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Top Ten Reasons Not To Cruise: No. 1 - Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

Celebrity Cruises Crew Member Arrested on Child Porn Charges  

Cruise Ship Sexual Assault: Carnival Bartender Gets Three Years For Raping Fourteen Year Old Passenger

Royal Caribbean Crewmember Indicted For Sexually Abusing 14 Year Old Girl

Fabian Palmer - Royal Caribbean - Sexual Abuse of MinorThe Baltimore Sun reports today that a Grand Jury in Baltimore, Maryland indicted a Royal Caribbean crewmember of sexually abusing a minor during a cruise ship out of Baltimore. 

According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, crewmember Fabian Palmer, age 25, befriended a 14 year old girl and her family during a cruise that departed from Baltimore on December 17, 2010.

The newspaper reports that on December 23, 2011, the victim told authorities that she was alone on a deck on the cruise ship when crewmember Palmer took her into a men's locker room and "began having sex with her."  He stopped only when another employee knocked on the door.

The cruise ship's CCTV video cameras captured images of the crewmember, the victim and a second employee outside the locker room around the same time that the victim said the abuse occurred, according to the newspaper.  During an interviewed by Royal Caribbean security, Fabian Palmer - Royal Caribbean - Sexual Assault - Cruise Ship crewmember Palmer admitted having sex with the girl, but claims that he believed that she was 16.

The newspaper does not identify the cruise ship, but it appears that it involved the Adventure of the Seas.

The Grand Jury returned the indictment yesterday.

The FBI has special maritime jurisdiction to investigate crimes like this involving U.S. citizens on the high seas.  An adult engaging in sexual intercourse with a 14 year old minor is in violation of federal law and is considered to be "sexual abuse" which can be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. 

Mr. Palmer's facebook page indicates that he is from Jamaica and worked as a pool attendant on Fabian Palmer - Royal Caribbean - Cruise Ship Sexual Abusethe Royal Caribbean cruise ship.  His facebook page shows him fraternizing with numerous women around the cruise ship pool and other areas of the ship.  The photos are all from his facebook page.

This incident comes at a time when the international media is reporting on the rape of a 15 year old girl on another Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Allure of the Sea.

The newspaper reports that Royal Caribbean did not immediately respond to a request for comment today.

A similar incident occurred in November on a Carnival cruise ship when a crewmember identified as Kert Clyde Jordan, age 35, a waiter from the country of Grenada, took a 14 year old child into a bathroom on the Carnival Liberty cruise ship. 

He was indicted on sexual abuse and is in jail in Miami awaiting trial.  

You can read about that incident here and here.

Do you have information about any of these crewmembers or incidents?  Please leave a comment below.  

Fabian Palmer - Royal Caribbean - Sexual Abuse of Minor

International Media Focuses on Royal Caribbean Cruise Rape Case

Over the past week there has been a steady stream of articles in the international press regarding the sexual assault of a 15 year old girl by two Brazilian passengers aboard the Allure of the Seas.

The Mail Online newspaper in the U.K. published an article Vacation Nightmare As Daughter, 15, On A Family Christmas Cruise 'Is Lured From A Teen Dance And Raped By Two Men In A Private Room'

Antonio Luiz Scavone Neto - Luiz ScavoneNumerous newspapers in Brazil are covering the story as well.   Today Cominidade News in Brazil was the latest Brazilian newspaper to report on the alleged cruise crime case.

This is an incident which is likely to remain in the news for a long time.  It involves the world's largest cruise ship which Royal Caribbean launched with great fanfare.  The question is whether the one billion dollar cruise ship, packed with multiple Flow-riders, rock climbing walls, skating rink and zip line attractions, has adequate security to protect its 6,500 guests from crimes like this.

The case also will highlight jurisdictional issues involved when foreign nationals from a country with no extradition treaty with the U.S. commit a crime against an U.S. citizen on a foreign flagged cruise ship.

Tomorrow morning a criminal state court judge in Fort Lauderdale will take evidence and entertain argument whether defendant Luiz Scavone (full name Antonio Luiz Scavone Neto) presents a flight risk.  If defendant Scavone is able to flee the U.S. and return to Brazil, there is a certainty that the U.S. will never be able to compel his return to face trial.    

 

Read our prior articles:

Two Rapes Alleged on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship

Alleged Cruise Ship Rapists From Brazil Seek Low Bond

Alleged Cruise Ship Rapists From Brazil Seek Low Bond

Luiz Antônio Scavone Neto - Alleged Cruise Rapist - Luis Scavonne The Sun-Sentinel reports that at a hearing this morning the defense lawyer for alleged cruise rapist, Brazilian citizen Luis Scavone (full name Luiz Antônio Scavone Neto) requested a Broward judge to set "little or no bail."   However, prosecutors for the state argue that defendant Scavone is a flight risk. 

Judge Matthew Destry scheduled a hearing for this Friday to take testimony and hear argument whether defendant Scavone, who allegedly committed "lewd and lascivious" acts against a 15 year old girl on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, is a fight risk.

Scavone is photographed above left, in happier times.  

The Broward County Sheriff's Office arrested Scavone together with a 15 year old boy, described as an  "alleged accomplice," who lured the 15 year old girl from an on-board nightclub into a passenger cabin on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas cruise ship, according to state prosecutors.

The incident was investigated by the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff's Office which also asserted jurisdiction after the cruise ship returned to port in Fort Lauderdale.

Luiz Antônio Scavone Neto - Cruise Rape Suspect - Allure of the SeasA previous judge who presided over the preliminary hearing,  John "Jay" Hurley, expressed concern that Scavone would flee to Brazil if given the opportunity.  The Sun-Sentinel quotes the judge saying "People who are from Brazil can go to Brazil, and there's very little chance that they'll be brought back to the United States."  The judge called Brazil a "loophole."  The judge was referring to the fact that Brazil recently amended its constitution to prohibit the extradition of criminals from Brazil.  Judge Hurley ordered that Scavone be fitted with a GPS monitor if he is released from custody while the case is pending.

It will be interesting to learn whether the two defendants hid after the alleged crime on the ship ship to avoid responsibility.  That would be a good indication whether they would try and flee the U.S. if released on a low bond. 

The press in Brazil are showing interest in this alleged cruise ship crime.  Several newspapers are publishing stories.  The 15 year old defendant's uncle is apparently a lawyer in Brazil.  The SRZD newspaper in Brazil quotes the family lawyer in Brazil denying everything and making nasty comments about the victim and her family.

Read Our Prior Article:  Two Rapes Alleged on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship 

Photo credits:

Top:  Brazil Voice

Bottom:  Joe Cavaretta via Sun-Sentinel

Sun-Sentinel article credit: Rafael A. Olmeda

Update on Alleged Sexual Assault of Child Aboard the Carnival Liberty Cruise Ship

This week we have been contacted by a number of readers who want to know the status of the criminal proceeding against a Carnival crewmember who is accused of sexually abusing a 14 year old girl aboard a Carnival cruise ship.

The incident occurred last month and you can read our initial account of the incident here.   

The crewmember involved is identified as Kert Clyde Jordan, age 35 from the country of Grenada, who worked as a waiter aboard the Carnival Liberty cruise ship.

According to the affidavit of the arresting FBI agent, the young girl was vacationing with family members aboard the Liberty cruise ship during a cruise from October 29th to November 5th of this year.  On the last night of the cruise at around 11:45 PM, crewmember Jordan encountered the girl, age 14, on the upper deck (Lido deck).  She told him that she was 14 years old.  At around 12:15 Carnival Liberty Cruise Ship - Sexual Abuse of MinorAM, Jordan led her a bathroom where he engaged in sexual acts with the child until around 2:00 AM.

The girl reported the incident to her mother the following day after the family returned home following the cruise.  Her mother took her to a hospital in her home state where she underwent medical treatment.  The local police were notified and, in turn, contacted the FBI here in South Florida on November 9, 2011.

On November 19, 2011, the FBI boarded the cruise ship and questioned Jordan, who waived his Miranda rights.  The FBI agent showed him a photograph of the girl, who he acknowledged seeing on the cruise and admitted that she advised him that she was 14 years old.  He also stated that he took photographs of the minor with his cell phone.

The FBI agent also stated that Jordan admitted to committing sexual acts with the girl.

Under federal law, sexual contact with a minor is a felony.  Here Jordan was charged with violating United States Code Section 2243(a)(1) which prohibits a sexual act with a child over the age of 12 but under the age of 16.   

If Jordan in fact waived his Miranda rights and admitted that he knew that the girl was only 14 years old, he will likely be convicted.  The maximum sentence for this type of crime is 15 years in prison. 

Jordan's arraignment was last week and a jury trial will be scheduled for later this year.  He remains in jail. 

Our prior article on this case drew a number of comments, including from people who claim to be family members or friends on the cruise ship.  Some of the comments question the veracity of the minor's claim because she reported the incident after the cruise.  Victims of sexual abuse often report the crime after the fact.  In this case the minor reported it the following day, which is not unusual at all.

There are some unusual comments to our article, including comments from someone who claims to have been a passenger who engaged in sex with Jordan on the same day as the incident involving the 14 year old girl.

We have no basis to verify these comments.  But if true, they raise the issue whether this crewmember engaged in sexual activities with women and underage girls in public bathrooms on the ship during prior cruises.

 

Photo credit:  wikipedia (Captain-Tucker)

Child Predator Jailed for Fondling Minor on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas

Sherwood Stevenson - Child Predator - Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas Cruise ShipMultiple news sources are reporting that a Federal Judge sentenced a Pittsburgh-area man to nearly five years in federal prison for traveling to Florida in order to take a cruise so he could molest a young boy.

Seventy-three-year-old Sherwood Stevenson pleaded guilty to traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

According to the Republic newspaper, Stevenson fondled a 6-year-old boy while in a hot tub on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship in December 2009.  When that boy got away, Stevenson made brief contact with another boy.

Stevenson told investigators he took the cruise so he could molest young boys.

We reported on the crime last summer - Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas.

The Federal Judge stated that Stevenson must serve 15 years' probation and pay a $10,000 fine.  He must also register as a sex offender. 

The report of this criminal sentence comes just a week after a 14 year old girl alleges she was raped:  Carnival Waiter Sexually Abuses a Minor Aboard Carnival's Liberty Cruise Ship.

Earlier this month a "serial rapist" was sentenced to 10 years for raping a 13 year old child during a Carnival cruise. 

Carnival Waiter Sexually Abuses a Minor Aboard Carnival's Liberty Cruise Ship

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami announced today that it is charging a Carnival Cruise crewmember with sexually abusing a 14 year old passenger aboard the Liberty cruise ship.  

According to the criminal complaint filed against the cruise ship employee, Carnival crewmember Kert Clyde Jordan, age 35 of Grenada, engaged in unlawful sexual abuse of  a 14-year old girl while she was cruising on a vacation with her family on the Carnival Liberty.  Under the United States Code which applies to maritime crimes on the high seas involving U.S. citizens, foreign crewmembers can be charged with "sexual abuse."  There is no federal crime involving rape on the high seas against minors. 

Carnival employed crewmember Jordan as a waiter on the Liberty.  The incidents in question occurred in a bathroom on the lido deck of the cruise ship.

The young girl reported the crime to her family after returning home. 

A pre-trial detention hearing is set for December 1st in the U.S. District Court for the South District of Florida here in Miami.

We have reported on many crimes involving young girls on cruise ships before.  Unfortunately, cruise lines like Carnival do not warn parents of crimes like this although they are frequent.  Just a few days ago we reported on "Serial Rapist" Sentenced to 10 Years for Rape of 13 Year Old During Carnival Cruise.

You can read about cases where child predators abuse children in cases on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship like this or where a Carnival crew member rapes a 14 year old girl like this.   

Even supposedly kid friendly cruise lines like Disney Cruises have a history of sexual assaults against young girls on their cruise ships: Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.

We have represented several rape victims before our U.S. Congress and have sued cruise lines on behalf of sexual assault victims on cruise ships and have recovered compensation from $100,000 to over $3,000,000 for our clients. 

December 10, 2011 Update:  Update on Alleged Sexual Assault of Child Aboard the Carnival Liberty Cruise Ship

Carnival Elation - Cruise Ship Sexual Assault

Photo credit:  Carnival Elation cruise ship - Montego Bay Jamaica - Jim Walker

"Serial Rapist" Sentenced to 10 Years for Rape of 13 Year Old During Carnival Cruise

A news blog in Alabama, al.com, reports tonight that a Gautier, Mississippi man dubbed a “serial rapist” by prosecutors will serve 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl during a cruise aboard a Carnival cruise ship. 

The case involves Dylan Cole Bloodsworth who was accused of raping the young passenger while he was sailing on the Carnival Elation cruise ship last March.  We reported on this crime in articles earlier this year entitled Passenger Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Minor on Carnival Cruise Ship and Carnival Passenger Admits to Sexually Abusing Minor During Cruise.  

Dylan Cole Bloodsworth - Cruise Ship RapeAlthough Bloodsworth admitted to the crime and said that he had "made a terrible mistake," the Federal District Judge sentenced him to a decade in jail and ordered that  spend the rest of his life under supervision by the U.S. Probation Office when he gets out of prison.

The prosecutor cited a prior sexual assault against another girl and told the judge that Bloodsworth is ". . .  a serial rapist.  He preys on underage girls.”

Bloodsworth's victim on the Carnival ship was on a cruise to Mexico with her family when she met him and agreed to go with him at his insistence to get a jacket from his cabin, where Bloodsworth sexually assaulted her according to court records.

Cases like this should be a wake up call to parents that rapes occur on cruise ships by older passengers as well as crewmembers.  You can read about cases where child predators abuse children in cases on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship like this or where a Carnival crew member rapes a 14 year old girl like this.   

Even supposedly kid friendly cruise lines like Disney Cruises have a history of sexual assaults against young girls on their cruise ships: Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.

Think this is an isolated problem?  Take a moment and read:  Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Carnival Passenger Admits to Sexually Abusing Minor During Cruise

Al.com blog reports today that a 19 year old Mississippi man pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 13 year old girl during a Carnival cruise ship last month.

Dylan Cole Bloodsworth, 19, pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a child during the cruise, as well as enticing another young girl to engage in sex back in Mississippi.  We reported on this crime last April.

Dylan Bloodsworth - Carnival Cruise Sexual Assault The blog states that a 13-year-old girl was taking a cruise to Mexico in March with her friend and her friend’s mother.  She met Bloodsworth on March 6th near the elevators onboard the Carnival Elation cruise ship and agreed to meet him on the top deck after dinner.  She later agreed to go with Bloodsworth to get a jacket from his cabin, where the sexual abuse occurred.

An affidavit filed by the FBI stated that the girl told investigators that she did not want to have sex with Bloodsworth and that he hurt her.  Bloodsworth's defense lawyer disputed that force or coercion were involved.  The bottom line is that the girl was too young to legally consent to sex, which is in violation of the Federal Statutes regarding sexual abuse of minors. 

The blog indicates that Bloodsworth faces up to 10 years in prison on both charges.

 

Photo: GulfLive.com

Follow Up to Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Child Molester

A Pittsburgh man pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 6-year-old boy while on a cruise vacation sailing out of Florida. According to wpxi.com, Sherwood Stevenson, took the cruise vacation with the intent of molesting the young boy. 

Stevenson, who was 71-years-old at the time, molested the young boy in a hot tub on the cruise in December 2009. It is alleged that Stevenson pursued another young child right after the 6-year-old escaped the hot tub.

Stevenson entered into a plea agreement that will likely result in a four-year prison sentence. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the agreement took into account Stevenson’s age, history of mental illness, and the brief contact with the boy.   Our firm previously reported on the Sherwood Stevenson case in 2010:

Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas

Judge Denies Bond to Child Molester on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

 

Photo of Sherwood Stevenson:  KDKA Pittsburg

Court Rejects Oceania Cruises' Attempt to Limit Compensation at $65,000 for Child Raped by Crewmember

On June 10th, a senior Federal District Court Judge in Miami rejected an attempt by a Miami-based cruise line to limit its potential liability at no more than $65,000 for alleged damages suffered by a minor raped on a cruise ship.    

The case arose out of a shipboard rape of a girl alleged against Oceania Cruises.  According to the lawsuit papers, an Oceania Cruises crewmember sexually assaulted and raped a 13 year old girl during a cruise aboard the Regatta cruise ship in October 2009.  

Oceania Cruises filed a motion seeking to assert, as an affirmative defense, the terms and Oceania Cruises - Regatta Cruise Ship - Sexual Assault - Rapeconditions of the "Athens Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea."  This is an international treaty which applies when a cruise ship does not call on a U.S. port.  It is commonly referred to as the "Athens Convention."  The Athens Convention limits a cruise lines liability for injuries and deaths to 46,666 Special Drawing Right (SDR's) which is an international currency which has a conversion rate today of around U.S. $65,000.

Most cruise passengers are unaware that if they or a loved one are seriously injured or killed, the cruise lines will try to enforce the Athens Convention damage limitation which is incorporated in all cruise tickets.

However, the Athens Convention does not apply when the cruise line or crewmembers act intentionally or recklessly.   The Act states that the cruise line can't benefit from the limitation ". . . if it is proved that the damage resulted from an act or omission of the carrier done with the intent to cause such damage, or recklessly and with knowledge that such damages would probably result."

Addressing this plain language, Senior Judge James Lawrence King ruled that the Athens Convention does not apply for "intentional torts."  Because the minor's claims for sexual assault and rape (as well as false imprisonment) are "intentional torts," the limits of liability contained in the Athens Convention do not apply. 

The attorney for the child is Jason Margulies.  The defense lawyer for Oceania Cruises is William Clair of Hill Betts & Nash.

This case should be an eye opener for most cruisers.  Yes, there are many cruises where crewmembers rape children.  Take a moment and read:

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Should Travel Agents Be Liable For Falsely Representing That Cruises Are Safe For Kids?

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Top Ten Reasons Not To Cruise: No. 1 - Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

Cruise lines like Oceania Cruises will do everything they can to avoid paying reasonable compensation when rapes occur, even when their ship employees rape the children of their guests. 

 

Photo credit:  CruiseLineFans.com

Latest Royal Caribbean Rape Allegation Reveals Problem of Underage Drinking on Cruises

The Miami New Times published a disturbing article this afternoon "Royal Caribbean Sued After 17-Year-Old Girl Allegedly Raped by Cruise Singer." 

The article by Michael Miller involves an encounter between a 17 year old passenger ("Jane Doe") and a 31 year old Royal Caribbean crew member employed as a singer in a band on the unidentified cruise ship.  After the crew member bought the minor a piña colada, two rounds of "Jaeggerbombs" and "a few more drinks," they ended up in the crew member's cabin where the rape allegedly occurred.  "Another man" (apparently another passenger) then ended up in Royal Caribbean Alcohol - Underage Drinking - Intoxication  the cabin and took pornographic photos of the drunken girl, according to the article.

The lawsuit alleges that the minor was required to prepare a written statement while she was still intoxicated.  She was then permitted a medical examination, where her blood alcohol level was .101. 

The curious part of the article is the newspaper writes "Royal Caribbean, which is based in Miami, could not be reached for comment regarding the lawsuit."  This is odd because the Miami New Times is here in Miami and a short distance down Biscayne Boulevard from the port where Royal Caribbean is located.  It is less than clear whether the reporter called the cruise line or tried to make contact with any law enforcement who may have been involved.

It is my understanding that the cruise line notified the FBI which quickly ended its investigation and arrested no one.  The cruise line then undoubtedly terminated the crew member involved.  Like most (alleged) cruise rapes, this case ended as soon as it was reported.  The (alleged) victim will be left with no recourse except to file a civil case.  The fired crewmember will probably end up working on a Carnival cruise ship in six months. 

What happened in the cabin?   Did a rape occur?  I don't know, I was not there.  There will be no criminal jury impaneled to weigh the evidence. 

But whatever happened, one thing is certain - the minor was served a great deal of alcohol, sold by a crew member to another crew member, both of whom knew that the cruise line has a policy against serving minors with alcohol.  The minor appears to have been drinking the piña colada, two "Jaeggerbombs" and "a few more drinks" in public, undoubtedly in view of other crew members who were aware that minors can't be served alcohol and that crew members cannot "fraternize" with passengers, whether they are adults or minors.

Incidents like this do not happen in a sober environment or in a serious setting where security personnel are on alert.  When I read these type of stories or am contacted by women in similar situations, I am quickly reminded of the "anything goes" mentality of shipboard life on cruise ships.  Did the parents of the girl (who are not mentioned in the article) have any idea how many incidents of overserving minors and sexual assaults occur during cruises?

Royal Caribbean needs to improve its alcohol policies and procedures. It needs to warn parents about dangers like this.  Cruise lines earn hundreds of millions of dollars a year pushing the sale of alcohol, some of which is consumed by young girls who end up in places on cruise ships where they should not be alone. 

 

Photo credit:  Royal Caribbean drink menu via Cruise Critic  

Passenger Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Minor on Carnival Cruise Ship

Dylan Cole Bloodsworth - Cruise Ship - Carnival - Sexual AssaultNews sources are reporting that a nineteen year old passenger was arrested for sexually assaulting a minor during a cruise aboard the Carnival Elation cruise ship.  Dylan Cole Bloodsworth (photo left) of Gautier, Mississippi was arrested by the FBI for abusing a minor while the cruise ship was sailing in international waters.  The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama will prosecute this matter, which was investigated by the FBI, Mobile Division.

The disturbing thing about this incident is that Mr. Bloodsworth was arrested a month ago for allegedly threatening to harm a 13 year old girl and her family unless she agreed to have sex with him. 

In an article entitled "Facebook Friendship Leads to Sexual Battery Charge" published on March 8, 2011, GufLive.com reported that Ms. Bloodsworth (photo right) faced "a sexual battery charge after Jackson County Sheriff's Department officers arrested him . . . " 

"The sheriff's office said parents of the alleged victim contacted them on February 23, 2011 alleging that Bloodsworth threatened to harm their 13-year-old daughter and her family unless she had sex with Dylan Cole Bloodsworth - Facebook Friendship - Sexual Assaulthim. The suspect and the child met on Facebook, an investigation revealed."

Bloodsworth had been transferred to a detention center.  The article indicates that Bloodsworth would remain incarcerated "until Judge T. Larry Wilson sets his bail."

It appears that Mr. Bloodsworth may have been on bail when he went on the cruise following the first incident arising out of the Facebook "friendship."   His Facebook page indicates that he was looking forward to going to Mexico early last month, just ten days after being arrested for the February 23rd incident.

Usually criminal suspects are not permitted to leave the jurisdiction when on bail, especially to go on a cruise ship with many minors.    

Cases like this should be a reminder to parents that cruise lines do not conduct background checks on passengers who sail on cruise ships.  The teenager in the cabin next to your family could be out on bail for abusing children ashore.   

 

Photo credits:

Top:  AL.com

Bottom:  GulfLive.com

 

Princess Cruises Captain Pleads Guilty to Sex Crime Against Girl on Princess Cruise Ship

A newspaper in the U.K. reports that a cruise ship captain pled guilty last October to sex crimes against a 14 year old girl.  The Spalding Guardian newspaper identifies the sex criminal as Captain Peter Russell, who entered the girl's cabin, apparently when her parents were not present, and performed an unidentified sex act on her.    

The U.K. newspaper indicates that after the cruise, Captain Russell contacted the girl on the internet and made obscene suggestions about the girl’s breasts, urged her to perform a sex act, and requested that the girl take a photograph of herself naked and send it to him.  According to the Captain Peter Russell - Princess Cruises - Child Predator - Sex Crime article, the disturbing circumstances were revealed to the child's parents when the girl broke down in front of her father and showed him the online conversations. 

Captain Russell subsequently admitted to the unlawful sexual activity with a child on the cruise ship and over the internet.

As is often the case, the newspaper did not identify either the cruise line or the cruise ship where the crime occurred.  The available information on the internet indicates that Master Russell captained a number of different cruise ships for Princess Cruises, including the Sun Princess and Sea Princess.  We asked Princess Cruises for information about when this occurred, what cruise ship was involved, how long Captain Russell worked for Princess and what, if anything, it did when the crime was committed.  No response so far.      

We have written many articles about the danger of passengers leaving their children alone in cabins on cruise ships, and trusting the cabin stewards and waiters.  Little did even we consider the depravity of a captain of a cruise ship targeting a little girl like this.  Consider this observation of Captain Russell during a Princess cruise from an unsuspecting passenger:

"After a day or so at sea we realised the ship's good-humoured tone was hugely influenced by Captain Peter Russell, a warm Englishman who spreads himself around the passengers like a favourite uncle at a wedding. The crew adore him. Forty-five years at sea, from tankers to cruise ships, Captain Russell exudes nautical wisdom and is also a bubbling fount of humorous stories  .  .  ."  

Yikes!

We have also written several blogs about the problem of sexual predators on Princess Cruises and the disturbing attitude that this cruise line, known ironically for the iconic "Love Boat" series, has toward sexual crimes against women and children like this.  In my opinion, Princess Cruises has one of the best deserved reputations for sex crimes on its cruise ships and engaging in cover-ups of such crimes.  Take a moment and read:

Unsafe on the "Love Boat?" - Sexual Assaults on Princess Cruise Ships

Sexual Assault Reported on P & O Cruises' Pacific Sun Cruise Ship     

Below is the unedited article from the Spalding Guardian:

SHIP CAPTAIN JAILED FOR TEEN SEX OFFENSES 

"A 'world class' cruise ship captain from Donington has been jailed for nine months for sex offences against a 14-year-old girl while she slept in her cabin.

Lincoln Crown Court heard on Thursday how Peter Russell (64), of Bicker Road, performed a sex act on a teenage girl while she was asleep in her bunk.

The victim thought she had dreamt the incident but it later came to light when Russell chatted to her on the internet on MSN Messenger and made obscene suggestions.

Matthew Lowe, prosecuting, said Russell made comments about the girl’s breasts and urged her to perform a sex act while chatting to him over the internet.

Princess Cruises - Sex Crimes - Child Molestation Russell went on to request that the girl take a photograph of herself naked and send it to him.

The incidents came to an end when the girl broke down in front of her dad and showed him the records of her online conversations she had with Russell.

Russell admitted two charges of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity together with sexual activity in the presence of a child and a further charge of sexual activity with a child.

Judge Sean Morris jailed Russell for nine months and placed him on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.

The judge told Russell: 'You are a sea captain of great distinction and have a glittering reputation.'

'You have brought that crashing down.'

Russell worked throughout the world as a captain of oil tankers for the Esso oil company and, following his retirement, went on to skipper cruise ships.

William Powell, defending, said: 'He stands before the court an utterly humiliated person.'

'His outstanding career is in complete ruins. He is a man who has disgraced himself to an appalling extent.'

'He has spent almost his entire career at sea.'

'He retired from Esso at the age of 50 with a reputation as a world class player.'

'He was up there with the elite. He was hugely regarded.'

Mr Powell said that Russell went on to skipper cruise ships but his job came to an abrupt end following his arrest.

He urged the judge to show mercy to Russell who was previously a man of 'good character.'

 

March 27, 2011 Update: Princess Cruises provided the following information to us:

"We only found out about this incident when contacted by the Linconshire Police in May 2010.  Nothing about this incident was ever reported to us.  We understand that this involved a family member, and that the incident occurred in 2008.  We tried to get more information from the Police but they would not give us much because they said it had nothing to do with Princess.  He worked for Princess at the most 4 years.  He signed off  from the Sea Princess at the end of his contract in Dec. 2009.  He did not work on board any of our ships again." 

 

Photo credits:

Captain Peter Russell - Dick Drayer / Picasa Photo

Princess Cruise Ship  - TravelServer

ABC Nightline's "Crimes on a Cruise Ship" Video

ABC Nightline has posted the video of its program last night regarding the sexual assault of a 14 year old girl on the Carnival Freedom cruise ship.   Carnival crew member Hery Krispiyanto raped the child during a cruise in 2009.  

ABC News Nightline Covers Sexual Assault of Minor on Carnival Cruise Ship

Tonight, ABC's Nightline will cover the story of a 14 year old child who was sexually assaulted by a Carnival crew member aboard the Freedom cruise ship. 

Krispiyanto Rape Carnival Freedom Cruise ShipThis is a story which we covered last May:

Carnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger

Hery Krispiyanto, age 30, from Klitren, Yogykarta (Indonesia) worked aboard Carnival's Freedom as a bartender.  The 14-year-old girl, identified only as "Taylor" to protect her identity, was vacationing with her parents during the Carnival cruise which left Fort Lauderdale in April 2009.  During the cruise, the minor and her parents became acquainted with Krispiyanto who waited on the family.  When the minor was alone on the upper deck of the ship one night, Krispiyanto walked up behind her, grabbed her arm and pulled her into a nearby employee-only room and closed the door, court records disclose. 

We have written many articles about the problem of crew members preying on children on cruise ships:

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships - A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Should Travel Agents Be Liable For Falsely Representing That Cruises Are Safe For Kids?

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Top Ten Reasons Not To Cruise: No. 1 - Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

 

Krispiyanto Statutory Rape - Carnival Cruise Line - Cruise Ship

 

Photograph top   Seminole Co. Sheriff's Office (via Palm Beach Post)   

Photograph bottom    Hery Krispiyanto's Friendster page

Passenger Sentenced to Jail for Sexually Assaulting Girl on Disney Cruise Ship

A passenger from New York has finally been imprisoned for sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl on the Disney Wonder cruise ship.

A year ago we reported on this crime - Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.

The girl's family sailed on the Disney Wonder in December 2006.  On New Year's Day January 2007, after the girl attended a program at the cruise ship's teen club with other girls, twenty-four year old Lucas George Wickes approached them and ordered them to return to their rooms. He told the girl to follow him because he was a security officer with the cruise ship.  When they reached an area where no other people were around, he then assaulted the girl. 

A federal district court sentenced Wickes to 46 months in prison and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $2,667. 

Accused Predator Priest Cruises to South America

Two weeks ago, we reported on a case where a judge in Illinois entered an order prohibiting an alleged child sexual predator from going on a cruise (with his wife) after he was caught allegedly trying to arrange a sexual tryst with a 13-year-old girl.  The Court had released the alleged sexual predator on bond on the condition that he not leave the U.S. or have contact with children. The Court enforced the bond condition when the alleged predator asked for permission to go on a previously booked cruise on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship.

This case was unique because there is also no law prohibiting sexual predators, accused or convicted, from cruising.  It's the first time I have heard of a judge keeping an accused predator off of a cruise ship.   

George Neville Rucker - Cruise Ship - Sexual PredatorThe issue whether sexual predators (accused or convicted) should be permitted to cruise re-surfaces with a blog article posted yesterday by the Miami News Times - "George Neville Rucker, Accused Predator Priest, Allowed Aboard Voyages of Discovery Cruise to South America."  Written by Michael Miller, the article tells us that a defrocked Los Angeles priest accused of sexually molesting 33 girls just set sail on a three month cruise of South America on the M/V Discovery, operated by a South Florida based cruise line, Voyages of Discovery.

The article explains that advocates for sexual abuse victims accuse the cruise line of being irresponsible for permitting an accused sexual predator aboard a cruise.  The priest had last been charged with molesting 12 girls in 2002.  Ironically enough, he had been caught by Alaskan state troopers aboard a cruise ship bound for Russia.  The charges were subsequently dropped after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California's attempt to prosecute older molestation cases. 

The Miami New Times interviewed Steve Novello, President of All Discovery Cruising (which owns Voyages of Discovery), who is quoted saying "I'm not sitting here and saying that we'll just take anyone's money.  (Rucker reportedly paid $12,000 for his cruise ticket). But as a cruise line we can't discriminate against anyone who's been accused of something and never convicted."

The Times also quotes Mr. Novello saying: "You'd better mention in that article every other cruise line that takes passengers aboard.  Some of them take people on board who I'm pretty sure have Voyages of Discovery - Discovery Cruise Shipbeen convicted of things.  It sheds a bad light on us in a situation where . . . our competitors are doing the same thing." 

Of course, the cruise line president is right.  All cruise lines have an open door policy for sexual predators.  As we pointed out before, because there is no law barring predators from cruise ships, there are situations where a sexual predator can book a cruise for the express purpose of molesting a child, a situation which happened earlier this year on a Royal Caribbean cruise - Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas.

But Mr. Novello's comments raise the issue whether cruise lines can institute policies to ban accused predators from their cruise ships?  Because there is no law prohibiting predators from cruise ships does not mean that a cruise line cannot institute their own policies. 

Cruise lines seem to do whatever they want to in most circumstances.  They can ban passengers from bringing a bottle of wine aboard.  If they can stop a bottle of Chardonnay at the gangway, they can just as easily institute a policy of banning sexual predators.  Certainly they can refuse passage to a notorious monster like ex priest Rucker, accused of molesting over 30 children.

Is a potential "discrimination" lawsuit by a sexual predator justification for cruise lines having no policies barring pedophiles from cruise ships?  I suppose it depends on your priorities and sense of morality.  If I were the CEO of a cruise line, I'd declare my cruise ships "predator free zones."  When scumbags like Rucker tried to buy a cruise ticket, I'd tell them to go to hell.  And if an accused deviant like Rucker were foolish enough to file a "discrimination" lawsuit against my company, I'd be happy to pay my defense lawyers a boat load of money to defend the case.          

 

Photo Credits:  

Top photo of Ex Priest George Neville Rucker - BishopAccountability.org (Sex Abuse Allegations Against Los Angeles Archdiocese Priests)

Bottom photo of M/V Discovery  U.K.'s Mail Online

Celebrity Cruises Crew Member Arrested on Child Porn Charges

Several newspapers in California are reporting that the FBI arrested a crew member aboard Celebrity Cruises' Constellation on child-pornography charges after the cruise ship arrived at the Port of San Diego. 

According to the Union Tribune newspaper in San Diego, Amado Nicholas Hernandez, age 31, was employed by Celebrity Cruises as an audiovisual manager and provided onboard guest-entertainment services. 

Amado Hernandez - Cruise - Child PornographyHernandez was arrested after he apparently abandoned his computer which was subsequently purchased at an estate sale.  The computer reportedly contained 450 photographs and about 250 video files of child pornography portraying a total of 44 different victims.  The computer contained information which permitted the FBI to trace the pornography back to the crew member. 

The criminal complaint filed against Hernandez alleged that upcoming cruises included several stops in Mexico.  Hernandez, in documented online chats, reportedly had bragged that he had bought young boys for sex in Mexico and “almost offed one,” the criminal complaint alleges.

The issue of child predators and crew members with child pornography on cruise ships is something we have written about frequently.  It's not an isolated problem: 

Nabbed at Pier 21 - Another Crew Member Busted with Child Porn in Halifax

Another Carnival Crew Member Busted for Child Porn

Costa Crew Member Caught With Child Pornography 

Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships

Another Crew Member Arrested for Child Pornography 

Cruise Ship Passenger Sentenced in Child Porn Case

 

Photo Credit:    roadiejobs.com

Judge Bars Alleged Sexual Predator From Cruise

A judge in Illinois rejected a request by a man accused of being a sexual predator to go on a cruise with his wife. 

John Martynus - Cruise   John K. Martynus, age 39, of Plainfield, Illinois, who counsels troubled children and works as a high school sports coach and referee, was arrested last week for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual tryst with a 13-year-old girl.  Martynus reportedly had just finished refereeing a basketball game and drove to a fast food restaurant, where he contacted who he thought was a 13 year old girl (actually an undercover officer) via text messages and asked to meet to have sex. 

After he was arrested, Martynus was released on bond on the condition that he not leave the U.S. or have contact with children.  Martynus and his wife had previously booked a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise to celebrate his wife's birthday.  His defense lawyer asked the judge if Martynus could go on the cruise.  The state prosecution objected citing the order that Martynus must stay away from children. “There’s no way, when you’re on a cruise, to avoid that contact,” the state prosecutor is quoted as saying. 

Martynus' defense lawyer, unfamiliar with cruises, told the judge: “There might not even be children on the cruise. It’s not a Disney cruise, it’s a Norwegian Cruise.” 

The judge denied the request, but said he might reconsider if Martynus could present evidence that the cruise would be adults-only.

John K. Martynus - CruiseThis situation illustrates a problem that most families do not consider, namely that there are sexual predators on cruises.  None of the cruise lines conduct a background check on cruise passengers, and there is no law prohibiting sexual predators, accused or convicted, from cruising.  That's why you have situations where a sexual predator can book a cruise for the express purpose of molesting a child, a situation which happened earlier this year on a Royal Caribbean cruise -Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas

This case is unique because the Judge entered an order forbidding the potential cruise passenger from leaving the U.S. or being around kids and would not budge when asked to modify his order. But once Martynus is tried and either convicted and serves a short jail sentence or he is acquited, he will be free to go on as many cruise as he likes - perhaps wearing his Charlie Brown shirt on cruise ships with children?           

Should sexual predators (accused or convicted) be permitted to cruise?  Should cruise lines perform background checks on passengers?  Should cruise lines warn passengers when a sexual predator is aboard the cruise ship? 

If you have an opinion of these issues, please leave a comment below.

 

Photo credits: 

Top photo    Sun-Times Media Wire (via myfoxchicago.com)

Bottom photo John Martynus Facebook page

Judge Denies Bond to Child Molester on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

A 72 year old from Pennslyvania who cruised on the Liberty of the Seas cruise ship last December remains in jail while awaiting trial on allegations that he traveled to Florida to molest boys on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship. 

Sherwood Stevenson has been held in jail since his arrest in June on a charge of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.  The sexual abuse took place in Royal Caribbean's H20 Water H20 Water Park - Sexual PredatorPark, photo left (taken by Jim Walker). 

U.S. District Court Judge Gustave Diamond in Pittsburgh presided over a detention hearing and denied a defense request seeking bond.

According to the Pittsburg Tribune-Review, Stevenson admitted to federal agents that he fondled a 6-year-old boy sitting next to him in a whirlpool sauna during the Royal Caribbean cruise.

Sexual abuse of children on cruise ships is a serious issue which the cruise lines don't like to talk about.  Here is our blog on this problem which we wrote in June:  

Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas

We have blogged regularly about the danger of children being sexually abused on cruises, particularly aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships.  In our experience, if your child is going to be sexually abused during a cruise - the chances are likely it will occur on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Here's the latest example:

Last December, Sherwood Stevenson, age 71, of Clinton, Pennsylvania booked a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas for the purpose of molesting children.  

Sexual Predator - Royal Caribbean - Cruise Ship CrimeAccording to multiple news sources, Stevenson went into the cruise ship's water zone on the Liberty of the Seas in December and fondled a 6-year-old boy.  He attempted to fondle a second child in an adjoining Jacuzzi. 

At a hearing before a Federal Magistrate in Pennsylvania, a FBI agent testified that Stevenson booked a trip on a Royal Caribbean cruise to "have a sexual encounter with a young boy."

Unlike most predators, he admitted to the sexual crimes on the cruise ship.

Federal prosecutors said that the cruise passenger has a a criminal past with other child sexual abuse charges.

The cruise line was able to keep the incident secret until the hearing today.  Unfortunately, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean like to keep these type of crimes away from the public's knowledge.

June 25, 2010 Update:

We received some interesting comments below from two of our readers, pointing out that parents should not permit their children to be in the water zone, or anywhere else on cruise ships, unsupervised.  I agree.  But the point is that most parents do not understand the number of sexual assaults which occur during cruises, and they are led by cruise lines and travel agents to believe that cruising is safe.

The photograph to the right is from the Royal Caribbean website under "Family Cruising."  The photograph is entitled H20 Zone Waterpark Fun!  It certainly looks like fun.  Lots of kids with no H20 Water Zone Fun - Royal Caribbean - Child Sexual Abuseparents in sight.  Royal Caribbean goes on to say:

"While the kids are away, having the time of their lives in our Adventure Ocean® youth program, mom and dad can play. Melt your stress away in our VitalitySM Spa, press your luck in Casino Royale®, take a yoga class in the Fitness Center, dance the night away in one of our themed bars, enjoy an intimate dinner together in one of our specialty restaurants, or order complimentary room service until midnight and simply enjoy a little quality time of your own. Go ahead, have the date night you've been wishing for, our Sitters at Sea service will entertain your kids . . ."     

The danger as I see it is that responsible parents often get caught up in the excitement of the cruise.  They let their guards down.  And the cruise lines promote the idea that they will take care of your kids while failing to provide proper warnings of the types of things that we report about on this blog. 

 For other information about sexual abuse on cruise ships read:

Carnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger 

Update: Sexual Assault Of Children On Cruise Ships

Top Ten Reasons Not To Cruise: No. 1 - Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships - A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

Sources: wpix.com   4ABC

Photo of Sherwood Stevenson:  KDKA Pittsburg

Photo of H20 Zone Waterpark      Royal Caribbean Cruises

 

Comments:

Carolyn Barkley:

If parents attended to their children most of these examples wouldn't happen. I'm amazed at how many parents allow their children to run in all areas of the ship without guidance. The companies have specific, safe areas for children and the adult pools, hot tubs, elevators, etc. are NOT designated safe areas. Yes, the ship's have cameras but it only take a minute for these sick-o's to strike. When are parents going to take some of the responsibility for the control of their children? Predators are everywhere ~ malls, parks, beaches ~ so why do parents think that when you board a ship anything will be different?

UK Cruises:

Jim, I read your blog regularly with interest. When I first came accross it, I didn't realise the cruise industry would be such a hive of activity for the world of Law! And stories are getting more and more disturbing! I'm afraid I have to agree with Carolyn - parents shouldn't be creating an occassion where their children can fall into these evil hands! When it comes to Royal Caribbean, I hear time and time again client's appreciation of the fact that they can get off in ports of call and leave their children with the minders... Whilst this is perfectly safe, why do parents want to do this. They take a family holiday but can't wait to get shut of their children. An element of laziness comes into it with parents where once they all become familiar with the ship, it feels like a safe enclosed little community and they become complacent with letting their children run round as if in their own home. The 3000 other passengers may share the ship with you, but nobody knows each other from Adam!!! This situation should never have been able to occur. A 6 year old should have been constantly under adult supervision! It isn't just the danger of sexual predators - why was a 6 year old unsupervised in water???

Jim Walker:

Carolyn and U.K. Cruises. I agree with you both. However, the focus should not be on criticizing the parents but to educate the public that it is not safe to leave the kids alone on cruises and you drop your kids off with "certified" counselors at your own risk. Cruise lines like RCCL like to say it's safe, but it's not. I posted an update to explain this further. I do greatly appreciate your comments and good points!

Scare Mom:

Having worked in an area with children that were abused over 20 years ago, I do not let my children leave my sight. Because I do not trust people. Anyway now we are scheduled for a cruise in August, and I wanted to leave my 7 year old in the children area with Supervise workers while we tour an Island, Now I'm scared as hell!

Cruise Ship Sexual Assault: Carnival Bartender Gets Three Years For Raping Fourteen Year Old Passenger

In May, we reported the arrest of a 30 year old bartender who was arrested after sexually assaulting a 14 year old passenger cruising with her parents on Carnival's Freedom cruise ship - Carnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger.  

Today a Federal District Court Judge in Orlando sentenced cruise ship bartender, Hery KrispiyantoHery Krispiyanto - Carnival Bartender Rape , to over three years and to pay about $4,360 in restitution. 

The Orlando Sentinel covered the story in an article "Cruise Bartender Sentenced to Prison for Teen's Rape."

The minor girl told investigators that she was alone on the upper deck of the cruise ship when crew member Krispiyanto walked up behind her, grabbed her arm and pulled her into a nearby employee-only room and closed the door. The incident occurred in April 2009 and the girl told her parents in August.  Sexual assaults of minors on cruise ships are often not reported right away due to embarrassment.

Sexual assault of children is something the cruise lines like to keep secret.  We have discussed other cases before and you can read them about here.   

Passenger Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Lucas G. Wickes, age 25, of Rochester New York pleaded guilty in federal court to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl on January 1, 2007, on board the Disney cruise ship Disney Wonder after it left Port Canaveral for a Caribbean cruise.

The passenger approached the girl when she left a teen club on the cruise ship and ordered her to accompany him. The girl, who said she believed he was a security officer, followed him to the stern Disney Wonder Cruise Ship - Sexual Assaultof the cruise ship where the adult assaulted her. 

We reported on this crime earlier this year - Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.

We have written about the sexual assault of children in prior blogs:

Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships - A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Should Travel Agents Be Liable For Falsely Representing That Cruises Are Safe For Kids?

Nabbed at Pier 21 - Another Crew Member Busted with Child Porn in Halifax

On September 7th, Canada Border Services Agency officers nabbed crew member Edward Brillantes Mangubat after they searched his laptop computer and found sexually explicit movies featuring children.

Cunard - Queen Mary 2 - Pier 21 - HalifaxMangubat worked as a stagehand on Cunard's cruise ship Queen Mary 2.  The Chronicle Herald reports that he had worked on cruise ships for seven years.

Today, Mangubat pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 120 days in jail.

Canada vigorously enforces its laws against child pornography.  This is the third case this year where the Canadian Border agents arrested a crew member from a cruise ship.  Most of the crew members are arrested at Pier 21 in Halifax (photo, left).  

If you think child pornography and sexual predators are rare on cruise ships, consider reading:

Another Carnival Crew Member Busted for Child Porn

 

Photo Credit:  Travel and Transitions

Another Carnival Crew Member Busted for Child Porn

The Chronicle Herald in Canada reports today that a crew member on a Carnival cruise ship which that visited Halifax was arrested and charged with smuggling child pornography into Canada.

Carnival Cruise Child PornographyThe newspaper indicates that 26-year-old crew member Nyoman Putra, an Indonesian working as an assistant room steward on the Carnival Glory, allegedly had child pornography on a laptop computer.

Canada Border Services Agency officers were inspecting crew members getting off the cruise ship when they nabbed the Carnival crew member at Pier 22 in Halifax.  Canada's border agents do a good job catching crew members who try and enter the country with child pornography.  

The Canadian newspaper writes that Putra is the second cruise ship employee to be charged with having child pornography so far this year in Halifax.  In May, a Filipino who was an assistant waiter on the Costa Atlantica was sentenced to four months in jail for possession and importation. 

Putra was an assistant cabin attendant.  It should concern any parent who cruises with their children to think of pedophile cabin attendants coming into the stateroom.

Parents don't like to think about these things, and the cruise lines and travel agents hate to admit these things happen.  Consider the following articles:

Costa Crew Member Caught With Child Pornography  (caught at Pier 22 in Halifax too!)

Carnival Cruise Ship - Child PornographyPerverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships (Carnival crewmember caught with child pornography in Halifax!!)

Another Crew Member Arrested for Child Pornography  (NCL crew member caught with child porn in Halifax!!!) 

Carnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger

Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Cruise Ship Passenger Sentenced in Child Porn Case

Most Wanted Rape Suspect Arrested On Carnival Cruise Ship - Worked As Manager Of Onboard Hair Salon

Top Ten Reasons Not To Cruise: No. 1 - Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas

We have blogged regularly about the danger of children being sexually abused on cruises, particularly aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships.  In our experience, if your child is going to be sexually abused during a cruise - the chances are likely it will occur on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Here's the latest example.

Last December, Sherwood Stevenson, age 71, of Clinton, Pennsylvania booked a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas for the purpose of molesting children.  

Sexual Predator - Royal Caribbean - Cruise Ship Crime According to multiple news sources, Stevenson went into the cruise ship's water zone on the Liberty of the Seas in December and fondled a 6-year-old boy.  He attempted to fondle a second child in an adjoining Jacuzzi. 

At a hearing before a Federal Magistrate in Pennsylvania, a FBI agent testified that Stevenson booked a trip on a Royal Caribbean cruise to "have a sexual encounter with a young boy."

Unlike most predators, he admitted to the sexual crimes on the cruise ship.

Federal prosecutors said that the cruise passenger has a a criminal past with other child sexual abuse charges.

The cruise line was able to keep the incident secret until the hearing today.  Unfortunately, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean like to keep these type of crimes away from the public's knowledge.

June 25, 2010 Update:

We received some interesting comments below from two of our readers, pointing out that parents should not permit their children to be in the water zone, or anywhere else on cruise ships, unsupervised.  I agree.  But the point is that most parents do not understand the number of sexual assaults which occur during cruises, and they are led by cruise lines and travel agents to believe that cruising is safe.

H20 Zone Waterpark Fun! - Royal Caribbean - Sexual AssaultThe photograph to the right is from the Royal Caribbean website under "Family Cruising."  The photograph is entitled H20 Zone Waterpark Fun!  It certainly looks like fun.  Lots of kids with no parents in sight.  Royal Caribbean goes on to say:

"While the kids are away, having the time of their lives in our Adventure Ocean® youth program, mom and dad can play. Melt your stress away in our VitalitySM Spa, press your luck in Casino Royale®, take a yoga class in the Fitness Center, dance the night away in one of our themed bars, enjoy an intimate dinner together in one of our specialty restaurants, or order complimentary room service until midnight and simply enjoy a little quality time of your own. Go ahead, have the date night you've been wishing for, our Sitters at Sea service will entertain your kids . . ."     

The danger as I see it is that responsible parents often get caught up in the excitement of the cruise.  They let their guards down.  And the cruise lines promote the idea that they will take care of your kids while failing to provide proper warnings of the types of things that we report about on this blog. 

 

For other information about sexual abuse on cruise ships read:

Carnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger 

Update: Sexual Assault Of Children On Cruise Ships

Top Ten Reasons Not To Cruise: No. 1 - Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships - A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

 

Sources: wpix.com   4ABC

Photo of Sherwood Stevenson:  KDKA Pittsburg

Photo of H20 Zone Waterpark      Royal Caribbean Cruises

Carnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger

The Orlando Sentinel reports today that a thirty year old Carnival crew member will be arraigned this week on allegations that he raped a 14 year old passenger aboard a Carnival's cruise ship.   

Hery Krispiyanto, age 30, from Klitren, Yogykarta (Indonesia) worked aboard Carnival's Freedom as a bartender.  A photograph from his Friendster page is below.

Hery Krispiyanto - Carnival Crew Member - Rape Allegations The newspaper reports that the 14-year-old girl was vacationing with her parents during the Carnival cruise which left Fort Lauderdale in April 2009.  During the cruise, the minor and her parents became acquainted with Krispiyanto.  When the minor was alone on the upper deck of the ship one night, Krispiyanto walked up behind her, grabbed her arm and pulled her into a nearby employee-only room and closed the door, court records indicate.  

Krispiyanto began to touch the minor inappropriately, and she repeatedly told him to stop. The minor said she tried to fight him, but Krispiyanto raped her, according to the criminal complaint lodged against the crew member.

The minor reported the incident to her mother in August, and it was then reported to the FBI.  A FBI agent interviewed Krispiyanto in April of this year and arrested him earlier this month.   

According to court records, when an FBI agent questioned Krispiyanto in April, he first denied the incident. But after a polygraph exam indicated Krispiyanto was being deceptive, he confessed to having sex with the minor in a pantry area on the cruise ship.  Krispiyanto is being held at the Hery Krispiyanto - Carnival Cruise - Rape Allegations Seminole County Jail.

June 1 Update:

The arrest of the Carnival crew member is now receiving wide media coverage. The Palm Beach Post contains a story today "Carnival Cruise Ship Bartender Accused of Raping Girl, 14, During Cruise With Her Parents."  The Post's article contains what appears to be a mug shot of  Krispiyanto (right),

We have written many articles about the problem of crew members preying on children on cruise ships:

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships - A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Should Travel Agents Be Liable For Falsely Representing That Cruises Are Safe For Kids?

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Top Ten Reasons Not To Cruise: No. 1 - Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

 

Credits:

Photograph top       Hery Krispiyanto's Friendster page

Photograph bottom    Seminole Co. Sheriff's Office (via Palm Beach Post)

Costa Crew Member Caught With Child Pornography

Another crew employee was caught trying to enter Canada from a cruise ship with child pornography.

The Chronicle Herald in Canada published an article today entitled "Cruise Ship Waiter Caught With Child Pornography." The newspaper reports that Canada Border Services Agency officer arrested an assistant waiter on the Costa Atlantica on Tuesday as he was getting off the cruise ship at Pier 22 in Halifax.

Costa AtlanticaJay-Ar Ramos Trilles, 23, of the Philippines pleaded guilty today in Halifax provincial court to charges of possessing and importing child pornography.

Two sexually explicit videos of children were found on both a USB flash drive and a laptop computer.  One of the videos depicted a boy and a girl between the ages of 10 and 12, while the other showed a six-year-old girl being sexually abused by a man. The prosecutor in Canada stated that the border agency is determined to keep such "abhorrent" material from being brought into the country.

Trilles worked with Costa Cruises for three years. 

We have written about other crew members and cruise passengers being arrested for child pornography in other articles:


Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships

Another Crew Member Arrested for Child Pornography

Cruise Ship Passenger Sentenced in Child Porn Case

 

Photograph credit:           Costa Atlantica cruise ship - Wikipedia (EnDumEn)

Update: Sexual Assault Of Children On Cruise Ships

The Vancouver Observer published an interesting article today which addressed, as the newspaper called it, the "moral dilemmas associated with cruise tourism."

The article was entitled the "Cost of Cruising," by Dr. Ross Klein.  In addition to addressing the effects of cruise pollution, it raised the issue of crime aboard cruise ship - particularly sexual assaults:

Cruise Ships - Sexual Abuse - Child Predator  "The rate of sexual assault and sexual harassment on Royal Caribbean International’s ships in the period 2003 – 2005 was approximately 50 percent higher than the rate in Canada.  

The rate of sexual assault on Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships from October 2007 - October 2008 similarly was 50 percent higher than the rate in Canada.  These assaults were perpetrated by crew members as well as by passengers, and the victims were both crew members and passengers.

It is astonishing that more than 17.5 percent of the sexual assault victims were minors – children under the age of 18.  While Royal Caribbean International appears to have improved its record between 2003 – 2005 and 2007 – 2008, the problem still exists.  Passengers need to be aware that cruise ships are not as safe as purported to be, and that they (and their children) need to take the same precautions on board a ship as they do in any major city." 

Dr. Klein's resarch led him to conclude at least 79 minors were sexually assaulted from 2003 - 2005 on Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

We recently discussed the issue of sexual abuse of children on cruise ships.  This is a very real risk.  The cruise industry tries to keep these crimes secret from the U.S. public.

 

Photo Credit:             Mail Online

Top Ten Reasons Not To Cruise: No. 1 - Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

Cruise Critic ran an article last week about the Top 10 Reasons Not To Cruise  When Cruise Critic claimed "Cruise Ships are Family Friendly" and posted the photographs from a Royal Caribbean teen center (below), I had heard and seen enough.  I responded with my article "Top Ten Reasons Not To Cruise." 

Here's reason no. 1:

Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

The purpose of my article is not to convince anyone not to cruise, but to educate consumers regarding the dangers inherent in and the consequences of cruising.  It you want to cruise, that's your business not mine.  But at least educate yourself before you expose your family to danger. 

Sexual Abuse - Children - Cruise Ships - Sexual PredatorsSome Facts:

The cruise industry is big, rich, and growing.  It is a real juggernaut.  Cruises are cheap and considered to be "good deals."    

Close to fourteen million passengers will sail this year on cruise ships from companies based in the U.S.  The cruise industry claims that 95% of the passengers believe that cruising is a positive experience.  And I have no reason to dispute that figure.  But that leaves 5%, or around 700,000 people, with a negative experience.  Included in this group are parents whose children were raped or sexually molested on cruise ships.

Cruise lines are not legally obligated to report sexual assaults of children, or any crimes for that matter.  Currently pending before the U.S. Senate is the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, which will require - for the first time - that crimes be reported to the FBI and the U.S. Coast Guard. When this law is enacted, cruise lines will also be required to reveal the crimes to the U.S. public via a link on their web pages.

But at the current time, the only sources of information are when courts order the cruise lines to reveal the crimes during lawsuits.  One good source of information is Dr. Ross Klein's CruiseJunkie.  Dr. Klein testified before our U.S. Congress several times and concluded that "Your Risk of Being Sexually Assaulted is Much Higher on a Cruise Ship Than in the Average American City."  Based on data we obtained in court cases, Dr. Klein concluded that at least 79 children were sexually assaulted or harassed on Royal Caribbean cruise ships alone from 1998 to 2005.

Our Experiences:   

The first case I handled involving sexual abuse of a minor on a cruise ship was in 1999.  A pedophile crew member gave a 14 year old boy a dozen glasses of champagne and took him back to his cabin.  He shaved the boy's pubic hair off and molested him when was was unconscious.  The cruise line responded by offering the family 50% of their cruise fare for their troubles.

Since then, we have handled over 70 cases involving sexual assault, with many children as victims.  We obtained, via a Court order, several secret internal studies by Royal Caribbean which concluded that sexual misconduct on cruise occurs "frequently."  At the same time, the cruise line's PR people were telling the American public that sexual assaults during cruises was "rare."  We also obtained spread sheets which revealed that there were 273 incidents of sexual Teen Activity Center - Sexual Assault - Sexual Abuse - Childrenmisconduct on the Royal Caribbean fleet for a period of three years, including rape and sexual abuse of minors.

A False Sense of Security

Parents believe that they can turn their children over to the "teen activity centers" or that the kids are safe alone in their cabins or walking the hallways and decks of the ship.  Parents are encouraged to let their guard down, grab a cocktail or two, and relax. 

The number one crime we see on cruise ships is when the parents stay out late at the disco or casino, and they leave their 12 year old son or 14 year old daughter alone in the cabin.  Many kids get tired after a fun day at the pool or after an excursion ashore, and they don't want to go to the second seating at dinner.  There are far too many cases where the cabin attendant will use their key card to access the cabin when the parents are away. 

Victim organizations, like International Cruise Victims (ICV), have proposed good recommendations to address this problem.  The ICV proposes deactivating the key cards of crew members after hours so they can't use them to get into the passenger cabins, using female cabin attendants rather than 25 year old males, or assigning supervisors to monitor the passenger cabins.  Most cruise lines have ignored these recommendations, and conduct business as usual.  Just last week we were contacted by the parents of a 16 year old sexually abused by a crew member who used a key card to get into the cabin when the parents were away.   

The other most likely scenario is when men or older teenagers target 13 and 14 year olds in the youth programs or confront them when they are trying to make their way back to their cabins.  To get an idea of how this happens, consider reading Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.

No Background Checks, Too Much Alcohol and Too Little Security

Cruise lines do not perform background checks on their crew members.  They rely on the hiring agents around the world to (hopefully) do that for them.  But what kind of a pre-employment investigation can be done in Nicaragua, India, St. Vincent, or Belize?  There are no computer databases or depositories of information for criminals or sexual predators in countries like these.  The other problem is that cruise lines do not share their crime data.  When Royal Caribbean fires a sexual predator, he can find work on another cruise line, like Princess Cruises, within a few months.  We have seen it happen. 

Sexual Abuse - Children - Cruise Ships - Sexual PredatorsA major problem on cruise ships is alcohol.  Cruise lines earn literally hundreds of millions of dollars a year selling booze.  Older teenagers or young men can entice 15 and 16 year old girls to go back to their cabins and drink.  Parents who have zealously watched over their children for 15 years can find themselves with no clue where their kids may be during much of the cruise.  The Oasis of the Seas, for example, has several thousand cabins.  A lot can go wrong by behind these closed cabin doors.   

Compounding matters is that cruise ships have few security guards. Sometimes as few as two guards are on duty at night, and they do not actually patrol the passenger hallways.  Most cruise ships have hundreds of waiters, assistant waiters, bar tenders and bar servers who work on only $50 a month plus tips, and whose job it is to push alcohol sales.  But security guards?  Maybe 2 or 3 are on duty at any one time, and they are responsible for the safety of 2,000 - 3,000 guests? 

Cruise Ships Hide Information and Destroy Evidence

In the U.S., you can obtain a crime grid for every business and residential address in the U.S.  If you want to know whether the local child care facility or sleepover camp has had a crime in the past, just ask the local police to run a crime report and the information is there for the asking.  But cruise lines keep the crimes secret.  Trust us, they say.  We will take care of your kids.  Don't worry, have fun.

But when things goes wrong, the cruise line will treat your family like criminals. There is no independent security or police authorities aboard the ship. You are on the high seas - a no man's land - often thousands miles from the closet FBI office.  Cruise lines are notorious for covering crimes up.  They do not want the legal liability or public spectacle of a crew member being led off their cruise ships in handcuffs.  They will defend their employee and accuse little Susie of making things up.  That's why some cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, have never had a single crew member convicted of sexual assault of a minor in the company's 40 year history.

And as long as no one gets convicted, sexual predators know that nothing will happen to them if they go on a cruise.  Its the perfect place to sexually abuse a child.   

We have written many articles about the problem with children being sexually assaulted during cruises:

Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships 

Cruise Ship Passenger Sentenced in Child Porn Case

Another Crew Member Arrested for Child Pornography  

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids 

Should Travel Agents Be Liable For Falsely Representing That Cruises Are Safe For Kids?

Tomorrow, we will discuss reason no. 2 not to cruise: Cruise Ships Are A Perfect Place to Commit A Crime, And Get Away With It!

 

Do you agree, disagree, or have a comment to make?  Let us hear from you in the comments below.

 

Credits:

Teen center photograph        Royal Caribbean Cruises (via Cruise Critic)

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

A newspaper in Rochester, New York reported yesterday that a passenger was indicted for sexually abusing a thirteen year old girl during a cruise back in December of 2006.  The passenger is alleged to have threatened to throw the child overboard if she called for help.

Lucas George Wickes - Sexual Abuse - Disney Wonder Cruise ShipTwenty-four year old Lucas George Wickes (photo left), of Rochester, New York, was indicted for the felony offenses of sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse of a minor on the high seas. 

The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York issued a press release last September entitled "Rochester Man Charged In Aggravated Sexual Abuse On High Seas Case." 

According to the press release, "on or about December 31, 2006, a 13-year-old female boarded a cruise ship departing from Port Canaveral, Florida to embark on a cruise with her family. In the early morning hours of January 1, 2007, after attending the teen nightclub, the female was walking around the decks with a couple of other teenagers when they were approached by the defendant who indicated that they should be returning to their cabins. The female followed defendant who took her to another deck and then forced her to take her pants off and perform oral sex on him, threatening to throw her overboard if she screamed . . "

We have written about the sexual assault of children in prior blogs:

Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships - A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Should Travel Agents Be Liable For Falsely Representing That Cruises Are Safe For Kids?

Disney Wonder - Sexual Assault - Sexual Abuse - Minors  What is striking about the U.S. Attorney's press release and the news articles "covering" this story is that the name of the cruise line is not mentioned.  We see this quite a bit.  Law enforcement and/or reporters sometimes try and protect the cruise lines from bad press.  

Another website identifies the cruise ship as the Disney Wonder.

It is a real disservice when the name of the cruise line is kept secret.  Many parents have a false sense that their kids are safe on cruises.  We have learned of sex crimes like this on cruise ships, even on cruise ships which cater to families.   

 

Credits: 

Disney Wonder Kid's Club           MPR529 Flickr Photostream via Hub Pages

Should Travel Agents Be Liable For Falsely Representing That Cruises Are Safe For Kids?

Cruise Ship Crime Today I read a travel agency's twitter feed "Safety for Children on Cruise Ships."  I am interested in this issue after representing 60 clients sexually assaulted on cruise ships, including children.

I was hoping to see some good safety tips in the article to keep children safe. Boy was I disappointed.  Not only were there no useful safety tips but the travel agents made the following comment:

 . . . most parents also like the fact that a cruise also allows you to spend some time apart from your kids, knowing that they are well taken care of.

Royal Caribbean, Disney, Celebrity and many other cruise lines have special programs for children, supervised by crew members who are specially qualified and trained to work with kids.

Unfortunately, this is simply not true.

We have represented many families whose children have been molested by youth counselors on cruise ships.  Other children have been victimized by crew members or even other passengers when they were suppose to be under the supervision of the counselors.  Others have been taken into cabins by older teenagers and men and raped when they were trying to walk back to their cabins after the kid's activities ended.  

Another dangerous situation is when parents leave their kids in the cabin to see a show, or they want to stay up late in the casino or disco. A cabin attendant can open the cabin door with his pass key when the parents are away. As I have said in a prior article, leaving a 12 year old boy or his 14 year old sister alone in a cabin is a bad idea.

Cruise lines suggest that the crew members are carefully screened before they are hired.  Nonsense.  

The cruise line themselves do not perform background checks at all. They rely on the hiring agents around the world to perform all of the "screening."  But what type of background check can be performed in countries like Nicaragua, Trinidad, or India?  These places do not have Children - Molestation - Cruise Shipscomputerized databases for drivers licenses or social security numbers much less a database for criminals or a tracking system for sexual predators.  Many of the hiring agencies who are suppose to be conducting background checks are paid commissions when they place employees on cruise ships.  There is a disincentive to keep the bad apples off of the cruise ships. 

Many travel agents shy away from unpleasant facts.  But it is another thing to affirmatively represent that children are safe and crew members are "specially qualified and trained." 

Exactly what "special qualifications" does the crew member you entrust your child have?  Why don't you ask the crew member before you drop your child off in the "kid's club."  Don't be surprised when they look at you with a puzzled face. 

If you are a travel agent reading this - do you think that you face liability if you make a representation that kids are safe to a client and a crew member molests your client's child during the cruise you just sold?  I know the answer.  Do you?  

Before you make a false statement in the hope of making a sale, take a moment and read the following articles:

Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships 

Unsafe on the "Love Boat?" - Sexual Assaults on Princess Cruise Ships

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships - A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget 

Cruise Ship Passenger Sentenced in Child Porn Case

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

From time to time, Cruise Law News will have a guest blogger.  Caitlin Burke is our first guest author.  Ms. Burke is a recent graduate from the University of Florida.  She majored in Recreation, Parks and Sport Management.  Ms. Burke wrote a senior honor's thesis entitled a "Qualitative Study of Victimization and Legal Issues Relevant to Cruise Ships."  

She is working as a case manager for Walker & O'Neill as she prepares for law school.  We are lucky to have her at our firm.  Caitlin BurkeMs. Burke addresses the danger of parents leaving their kids in child care facilities on cruise ships:   

Don't Lose Touch With Your Kid On Cruise Ships   

A recent article, posted by a travel agent, entitled "Why Cruises are the Best Vacations with Kids," states several reasons why cruising with children is such a "great idea."

In theory, if all of the points were as fun-filled and squeaky clean as portrayed in the article, then yes, I would 100% agree that cruising with children is a great way to rid you and your better-half of all responsibility for your kids.  After all, this is a "family" vacation and you’ve earned it. What better way to spend it then drinking booze and frolicking in the sun while your kids are conveniently being monitored by untrained, overworked staff?

Parents - Don't Let Your Child Be A Cruise Crime Statistic  

This article upsets me not because I think family vacation should indeed involve the whole family. But because this "have fun while your children spend the day in the child activity center" leads parents to believe (thanks to great advertisements) that their child is indeed being monitored by qualified staff members.  After working at a small maritime law firm in Miami for only a couple months, I’ve already seen two cases involving minors who were sexually assaulted when they were supposedly being monitored at a teen activity center.

Let me restate this, 2 kids sexually assaulted in 2 months.

In my opinion, if this were to happen in a daycare or teen center anywhere in the U.S., it would be broadcasted nationally and investigated thoroughly.  Everyone would be asking how did this happen?  How did the adult get to the child?  Who was suppose to supervise the the child?  Was a background check conducted?

Caitlin BurkeYou better believe the media would be all over the story.  But because the assaults occurred on a foreign cruise ship in international waters (not to mention an effective effort on behalf of the cruise line to keep the mater hushed up), the stories hardly get covered and few questions are asked.

Cruise lines are notorious for failing to conduct thorough background checks on employees.  They are notorious for promoting the teen centers and advertising "just how safe they are."  And they’re notorious for covering up sexual assaults and rapes on their cruise ships.

Responsible Parents Ask Questions Regarding Responsibility

So before you kick back, grab a cocktail, and float away into oblivion, take a moment and ask yourself a few questions:

1.  Are the cruise line counselors who you are entrusting your kids to really qualified? Consider asking them - how long have they worked on the cruise ship, and what makes them qualified?

2.  Will your children actually be supervised? Will they stay in the activities center?  If they leave the center, will they be supervised?  How many supervisors are there?  Can the kids run wild on the ship? 

3.  Can your child use a walkie-talkie and be reached at all times?

4.  Are older teenagers permitted to mingle with the 13 and 14 year olds?  Are adults permitted into the centers?

5.  Has any child been molested or sexually assaulted on the cruise ship?

Keep your guard up.  Don't let a cruise vacation of a lifetime turn into a nightmare. 

 

Are you are interested in this issue?  Then consider reading Jim 's blog entitled: Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships.

Would you like to be a guest blogger regarding issues of cruise safety?  The rights of passengers and crew members?  The protection of the environment from cruise pollution?  Then email me at caitlin@cruiselaw.com and be our next guest blogger . . .    

Cruise Ship Passenger Sentenced in Child Porn Case

The Virginia Pilot newspaper reports that a passenger was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for downloading child pornography. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents arrested passenger Timothy David Webb, 32, after he disembarked Royal Caribbean's cruise ship Cruise passenger sex offenderGrandeur of the Seas at the Norfolk cruise ship terminal.  Webb is a convicted sex offender and has a conviction in 2000 for sodomy in the state of Virginia.

The customs agents pulled Webb from a line of passengers disembarking the cruise ship and  searched his laptop, which contained child pornography videos.

Caught By U.S. Federal Agents - Not By the Cruise Line  

I have written about the problem of crew members, as well as passengers, with child porno on cruise ships.  They are usually caught, not by the cruise line, but when custom agents view their laptops or iPhones and discover the pornographic images. 

In an articles entitled "Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships" and "Another Crew Member Arrested for Child Pornography," I discussed crew members from Carnival and NCL cruise ships recently being arrested in Canada for pornography on their laptops and computers.

The web site "Cruise Ship Sex Offenders" lists some of the sex offenders who have worked or sailed on cruise ships. 

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships - A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

Two stories hit the internet this weekend regarding children being raped on cruise ships.

12 year Old Raped On Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas

The first article involves allegations that an adult passenger drugged and raped a 12 year old girl cruise ship rape - childrenwho was sailing on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas.  The complaint alleges that the adult met the child at a "teens-only" event sponsored by the cruise line. The information is contained in a Miami maritime lawyer's blog:

"Royal Caribbean Cruise Line advertises and markets that it has programs and caters to pre-teens and teens. In fact, the cruise line advertises on its website that it provides as 'adventure ocean youth facilities including teen only areas” and advertises and represents that 'our 12-14 and 15-17' teen groups give them the freedom to come and go as they please for sports, themed parties, movie nights, and more. Teens can also meet up and chill-out in the laid back Living Room lounge, or cut loose at Fuel, the teen only night club.

Royal Caribbean also markets, advertises and represents that 'parents don’t have to worry about you hanging out there, because every member of our team staff holds a college degree and education, recreation or a related field and has experience working with youth ages 3-17.' Their advertisement also states that this program is 'available on all ships.'

However, on this particular cruise, despite its representations, Royal Caribbean allowed an adult man to attend a teen-only event. In turn, the adult man then seduced our client, a minor child, 12 years-of-age at the time of this incident, drugged her, and raped her."

cruise sexual assaultThese type of cases are troubling because the public does not realize that there is a problem with sexual predators on cruises (both crew and passengers).  To make matters worse, the cruise lines tell the parents not to worry about their kids because the cruise line will keep them safe which is not true.  

We have handled and are currently handling cases where children from age 3 to 17 have been raped or molested after being entrusted to the cruise lines' "kid activity centers" or "teen camps."  Some of the parents of the victimized children were cruise fanatics before their lives were forever changed by the crime committed against their children.  

Juvenile Sexually Assaulted on P & O Cruises' Pacific Sun

The second  story involves the alleged sexual assault of a juvenile on P & O Cruises' Pacific Sun. The article is entitled "Sex Claims Clouds Cruise." Cruise Law News was the first to report the incident in the U.S. in an article dated October 10, 2009. I also tweeted about the incident on Twitter. 

Then silence.

Cruise Community's Indifference to Shipboard Crimes Involving Children?

cruise sexual assaultNo U.S. newspaper covered the stories.  No one in the world of Twitter re-tweeted the stories.  The cruise line did not even bother to issue a press statement about the sexual assault of a minor on the P & O cruise. No calm and reassuring statement via YouTube by cruise line CEO Ann Sherry, who I have praised in the past.  

The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), whose Twitter name is humorously @CruiseFacts didn't even bother to  issue its usual crime-is-rare denials. Not a single one of the 16,000 travel agents, who are an integral part of CLIA, took a moment to inquire into the stories. 

What's more disturbing is that no one in the cruise community bothered to address these disturbing stories.  The editors of the popular CruiseMates or CruiseCritic online cruise communities couldn't find space on their blogs to mention the assault of a minor during a cruise. There are hundreds of cruise fanatics who tweet and post comments incessantly about the most trivial of cruise "issues."

But not a single mention of a minor being raped during a cruise.  

Frivolous Thoughts From a Frivolous Industry?

Instead, the cruise fanatics were obsessed with the "issue" of an Italian couple filing suit because the cruise line did not tell them that they booked a gay cruise.  Like, who cares?  Well the cruise community does.  They were so fired up about the two homophobic cruisers that USA Today's cruise community blog @CruiseLog recorded, as of the writing of this blog, 757 comments on the story.  @CruiseLog's story about some nuts suing over a gay cruise was the fifth most read story at USA Today, ahead of the story about President on Obama trip to New Orleans! 

But not a single mention of a child raped during a cruise

children - rape on cruise ships The cruise fans who blog and twitter undoubtedly use the same search words in their Goggle readers as I do or have similar RSS feeds.  They obviously see the same stories popping up about sexual assault of children on cruise ships, or the robbery of eleven cruise passengers last Sunday at a tourist attraction in the middle of Nassau, as I did. 

But they choose to ignore these type of unpleasant stories.  Is it because they sold out to the cruise lines who pay money for banners and ads on their web sites?  Or they don't want to disrupt their give-us-a-free-cruise-and-we-will-write-a nice-review arrangement? Or because they simply don't want to offend their friends in the cruise industry who invite them to the behind-the-scene parties and events?   

Which Cruise Line has the Best Steakhouse???

So we have cruise cheerleaders like @CruiseMates, @CruiseCritic and the @CruiseWhatevers  tweeting and blogging incessantly about breaking "stories," like just how big the Oasis of the Seas is!!!  Wow!!! 

I realize that those cruise fans reading this blog have more important issues to consider. Check out the debate on USA Today's cruise blog now: Which cruise line has the best steakhouse? We're debating the topic today!!  48 comments and counting!

Now that's something to blog about!