A newspaper in Mexico and cruise expert Professor Ross Klein report that a young woman from Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas cruise ship was apparently drugged and sexually assaulted by employees of Senor Frog's in Cozumel, Mexico last Friday, August 10, 2012.
The article states that the woman (reportedly around 19-20 years of age) was cruising on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship which called on Cozumel. Her family went on a tour and ended up at Senor Frog's which is a popular bar frequented by cruise passengers and other tourists. The newspaper explains that the young woman and other family members drank and she danced with one of the employees who worked with several other men as disc jockeys (DJ's).
The young woman ended up being invited into the DJ's "cabin," an enclosed area of the restaurant from where music is played. The DJ's gave her a drink and she thereafter lost track of things but just remembers vague images of the four men attacking her and trying to fight them off.
The circumstances were particularly brutal with reports that other employees went into the booth to watch, and some men were beating the victim.
She was taken back to the cruise ship and experienced pain and burning in her genital area and had bruises on her body. Her family decided to leave the cruise and stay on the island to report the incident to the Mexican police.
Another newspaper reports that the four Senor Frog employees were taken to a local magistrate who promptly released them. We are not referring to this newspaper because it mentions the victim's name. The newspaper also indicates that police records indicate that from January to June 2012 there were seven complaints of rape. It is less than clear whether the article refers to the bar or Cozumel. Women raped in Mexico rarely obtain justice.
This is not the first report of rape of a cruise passenger in Cozumel or the first rape of a Royal Caribbean passenger who went to a Senor Frog's during a cruise.
In June, we mentioned a lawsuit filed against Royal Caribbean arising out of a gang rape of a young woman in Cozumel from the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. The cruise line provided the passenger with a map of the shopping locations recommended by Royal Caribbean. A gang of men brutally raped the young woman while she visited one of the recommended stores.
Royal Caribbean does not warn cruise passengers of the danger of being sexually assaulted or violently attacked in Cozumel. Cozumel is one of the few ports capable of accommodating the Genesis project ships like the Allure and the Oasis and it is my opinion that the cruise line doesn't want to scare anyone off from traveling to this Mexican port.
Last year a young woman from Poland, working aboard the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, was murdered while ashore in Cozumel.
Royal Caribbean knows that bars ashore in ports of call present dangers of date rape drugs and sexual assault.
Last year a Royal Caribbean passenger was raped and severely beaten after drinking at a Senor Frog's in Nassau.
Cruise lines have an obligation to warn of dangers ashore in the ports of call that they sail to and where there guests are reasonably likely to frequent such as local bars near the cruise ships.
Royal Caribbean in particular, acknowledges that it has a duty to inform cruise passengers of dangers like this. The cruise industry publication 'World Cruise Industry Review" interviewed the head of "Global Security" at Royal Caribbean, Gary Bald, about the cruise line's obligation to warn cruise passengers of dangers in ports of call. In an article entitled "Safe Harbor," Mr. Bald stated that as far as looking for dangers to passengers in ports of call, "I’m locked in and tuned in around the clock, 24/7.”
The article states that "Bald is happy to share security information with both the crew and the passengers. “All guests are my responsibility,” he says, “and I don’t want some more prepared than others.”
It will be interesting to see whether Mr. Bald and his cruise line warned this latest victim and her family about the prior rapes and attacks in Cozumel and other Royal Caribbean ports of call.
Photo credit: Top: Senor Frog's - Julián Miranda/SIPSE; bottom - Wikipedia / Andres Manuel Rodriguez