A plea hearing was scheduled for today in Viera, Florida at the Harry T. & Harriette Moore Justice Center regarding the criminal case against a Disney cruise cabin attendant who is accused of luring a 13 year old passenger into an empty cabin on the last day of the cruise and molesting her.
Indonesian Ahmed Sofyan, age 36, worked on the Disney Dream as a state room attendant at the time of the incident.
The Disney cruise line steward is accused of false imprisonment and lewd and lascivious molestation of the little girl. You can read our initial article on the case here. Sexual molestation of minors is a problem on cruise ships including Disney Cruise Line which caters to families with children.
As WFTV reports, before the hearing could begin, a question arose over Sofyan’s alleged ability to understand English. The defense attorney claimed that his client has difficulty understanding English (notwithstanding Disney's requirement that all crew members must speak English fluently as a prerequisite to employment). The judge decided to make an attempt to locate an Indonesian interpreter in order to make certain that the defendant crew member could fully understand the nuances of the serious criminal charges pending against him. When an interpreter could not be promptly summonsed to the courthouse, the hearing was rescheduled until mid July.
The victim's mother and brother had driven 20 hours from another state to attend and speak at the hearing. They will return in three weeks.
As the local news station reported, each of Sofyan’s charges are felonies with the most serious charge carrying a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
Photo Credits: Top - Jim Walker; Middle & Video - WFTV
WKMG 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.
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 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.
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.
But 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.
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.
A 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.
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 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.
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."
Pipitone, 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:
Yesterday, 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."
The 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. See 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. 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.
Amado 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.
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 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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 pornography.
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.
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.
A 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.
The 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.
The 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. But one 16 year old girl, raped by a crew member on a Carnival cruise, refused to sign her rights away.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Trotter, 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:
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."
The 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.
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.
I started this blog only two and one-half years ago. I have written about several dozen rapists and child predators, as well as a lot of pedophile crew members and cruise passengers who are arrested for child pornography. One motto of Cruise Law News is "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know, like this:
Paul Trotter, age 34, is the most prolific cruise child predator 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. 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? Read more here about Trotter.
Edward Brillantes Mangubat, age 40, (no photo) 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, is a pedophile employed by Celebrity Cruises as an audiovisual manager and provided onboard guest-entertainment services.
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.
The issue of child predators and crew members with child pornography on cruise ships is something we have written about frequently. Read more here.
Dylan Cole Bloodsworth, age 19, of Gautier Mississippi, sexually assaulted a 13 year old girl during a cruise aboard the Carnival Elation cruise ship. The minor met Bloodsworth on near the elevators onboard the cruise ship and agreed to meet him on the top deck after dinner. She later went with Bloodsworth to get a jacket from his cabin, where the sexual abuse occurred. Bloodsworth had been arrested a month before the cruise for allegedly threatening to harm a 13 year old girl and her family unless she agreed to have sex with him. Usually criminal suspects are not permitted to leave the jurisdiction when on bail, especially to go on a cruise ship with many minors. The prosecutor told the judge that Bloodsworth is ". . . a serial rapist. He preys on underage girls.” He was sentenced to ten years in jail.
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. Read more here.
Check back for Cruise Ship Perverts, Rapists & Child Predators - Part II.
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:
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.
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."
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."
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 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.
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.
The police said that Trotter molested the children when he was assigned to the children's "play zone" on the ships.
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
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.
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 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:
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 November 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 strong 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, requested 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:
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.
The 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."
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.
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 . . . "
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
This 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.
Top photo Sun-Times Media Wire (via myfoxchicago.com)
A Canadian newspaper reports that a crew member from Indonesia will soon find out whether he will serve additional jail time for possession of child pornography. Crew member Hendri Dharmawan, age 29, was working as a pastry chef on the Carnival Triumph when he was arrested September 1 in Halifax. He has been in a Nova Scotia jail for the past five weeks after pleadings guilty to the child porn charges.
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.
This type of story should serve as a wake up to parents who take their children on cruises. Yes, there are sexual deviants and predators on cruise ships. We have had too many cases where unsuspecting parents leave their kids in the cabin when they go to the casino, or stay late at the disco. While the parents are gone, a cabin attendant enters the cabin with his pass key. Let's skip the details. Trust me, 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. First of all, 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 computerized 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.
If a crew member molests your child on the cruise ship, don't expect the cruise line to believe your child. Cruise lines have a notorious and well earned reputation of covering up crimes. Their priority too often is defending the crew members and their own marketing image.
There is also the danger of other passengers abusing your children. A cruise ship presents the same dangers as your home town. You can read about the problem of sexual assault of teenagers and child abuse during cruises here.
Maritime & admiralty lawyer & attorney James M. Walker of Walker & O'Neill Law Firm, offering services related to injuries, sexual assaults, fires, negligence, rapes & disappearances on cruise ships, pirate & terrorist attacks, missing passengers, shore excursions, wrongful death and the Jones Act, serving cruise passengers, crew members, cabin attendants, utility workers, waiters, bar tenders, ship doctors and cleaners on cruise ships worldwide.
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