A lawsuit filed suit last week against MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., and MSC Crociere SA, alleges that a MSC crew member, identified as Rudy Samuel Santos Hernandez, sexually assaulted and battered a 12-year-old child on the MSC cruise ship.
According to the Florida Record, which reports on filing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the lawsuit against MSC and its crew member alleges:
"that on Feb. 14, 2016, [plaintiff] and his 12-year-old granddaughter were aboard MSC Cruises for a seven-night Caribbean cruise. Defendant Hernandez allegedly took advantage of the situation as he observed the minor enter the empty cabin, which she shared with her grandfather, legal guardian and plaintiff."
According to the lawsuit, the crew member used his service key to "enter the room where he sexually assaulted and physically battered the minor." The incident is alleged to have occurred aboard the MSC Divina.
The family is represented by Jason Margulies and Carol Finklehoffe here in Miami.
Sexual crimes against children on cruises are hardly rare. I have written about it here many times.
Over six years ago, I wrote:
"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 attendants will use their key card to access the cabin when the parents are away."
We have recommended that the cruise lines deactivate 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.
Cruise lines like MSC Cruises typically do not perform independent background checks on their housekeeping and wait staff before they are hired. Read: Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships.
Photo credit: By Mllturro - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.