Passenger Charged with Raping Boy on NCL Cruise Ship

Adam ChristopherOn August 30, 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts filed criminal charges against a man reportedly from Bay Springs, Mississippi for allegedly raping a 15-year-old boy on a NCL cruise ship during a seven-day cruise from Boston to Bermuda. The sexual assault reportedly occurred on August 14, 2017 while the cruise ship was docked in Bermuda, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston.* 

The incident was first reported by the newspapers in Bermuda, including Bernews and the Royal Gazette, which did not mention of name of the assailant or the cruise ship where the incident occurred. The newspapers in Bermuda, which typically do a poor job of reporting about crimes on cruise ships, did not provide any details regarding the alleged shipboard crime.  

The federal court filing in federal court in Boston (see below) indicates that the United States charged Adam Christopher Boyd, age 30, with one count of sexual abuse of a minor. Mr. Boyd was arrested in Bermuda and faces extradition back to the United States. The court filing indicates that the cruise ship where the rape occurred is the Norwegian Dawn. According to an affidavit from a FBI agent in support of the criminal charges and arrest warrant, the Dawn arrived at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda on August 13, 2017 where it was scheduled to spend three days before returning to Boston.

The FBI affidavit states that before the rape, the 15-year-old boy was drinking alcohol on deck 13 of the ship with other passengers who he met during the cruise.  Mr. Boyd met the child and informed him that he was an hairdresser and offered to braid the child's hair. Mr. Boyd reportedly asked the child his age and the boy said he was 15-years-old. The FBI reportedly later interviewed another passenger who stated that Mr. Boyd asked him if the boy was really just 15-years-old, and the passenger confirmed that the minor was, in fact, 15-years-old and not 18 as Mr. Boyd later claimed.  

According to the court filing, Mr. Boyd volunteered to escort the boy back to his cabin and offered the boy to stay in Mr. Boyd's cabin which the child declined. The ship's surveillance footage reportedly showed Mr. Boyd and the boy leaving deck 13 early in the morning of August 14th; another passenger verified that the boy appeared to be intoxicated at the time. When they reached a secluded area of deck 14, Mr. Boyd kissed the child and put his hands down the minor's pants and felt his genitals, following which he anally raped the child, according to the affidavit.  After the incident, the boy told a group of other teenagers who he previously met during the cruise, that he had been sexually assaulted. He also he told the police in Bermuda, who later came onto the ship to investigate the incident, that he had been "raped."

The court filing further indicates that other passengers stated that later that morning they saw the boy sitting by himself on deck 13, appearing upset and crying.  The child eventually returned to his cabin and reported the sexual assault to his family who alerted the ship's security personnel who, in turn, notified the police in Bermuda. The local police took the child to a hospital where a rape kit was administered. The police arrested Mr. Boyd who denied that penetrated the child.

The FBI agent, who prepared the affidavit, stated that she believed that there was probable cause that Mr. Boyd violated Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 2243(a) which defines sexual abuse as knowingly engaging or attempting to engage in a sexual act with a minor who has not attained the age of 16 and is four years or more younger than the assailant. The sexual abuse of a minor carries a jail sentence of five to fifteen years and a fine of up to $250,000. 

Sexual assaults of minors on cruise ships is an issue which I write about often; last month NBC News aired an investigation into the sexual assault of minors on cruise ships - NBC News: Hidden Dangers for Children on Cruise Ships. We have written about boys as well as girls being victimized during cruises, not only by crew members but by other adult passengers. Cruise lines are in the business of selling carefree, dream vacations to idyllic destinations; the cruise industry will never warn passengers of the dangers of their children encountering predator crew members or pedophile passengers. 

The U.S. government has jurisdiction to prosecute cases of rape on cruise ships when a U.S. citizen is involved, as either the victim or the assailant.  The criminal charge in federal court in a case of rape of a child is characterized as the "sexual abuse" of a minor; there are no criminal federal statutes for "rape" or "sexual assault."  

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

Photo credit: Rap Sheets - of Adam Boyd for arrest on charges of driving under the influence in Mississippi in August 2015. 

*Note: The Department of Justice writes: "The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law."  

September 26, 2017 Update: Passenger from Mississippi finally about to be extradicted back to the U.S. to face criminal charges.

 

 

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)

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

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

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!

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

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!