Love Boat Waiter Acquitted of Sexually Assaulting Passenger

On Thursday, a Los Angeles Federal Court jury acquitted a headwaiter working for Princess Cruises of sexually assaulting a woman passenger during a cruise on the Coral Princess.  

Coral Proncess - Sexual AssaultA woman from Kansas City accused Princess Cruises crew member Jorge Manuel Teixeira (from Portugal) of sexually assaulting her during a cruise last March between Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles, while the ship was at sea off the coast of Mexico.

Another Cruise Crime At Sea Goes Without Justice?

The daily Breeze newspaper has done the best job reporting on this case starting with "Crewman Arrested in Sexual Assault."

According to the FBI, the Princess crew member invited a 42-year-old passenger to share a bottle of wine and then attacked her.  He was charged with a federal count of aggravated sexual assault.  The 17-page FBI affidavit that describes the crime and a 100-page transcript of the crew member's interview with two FBI agents are available on line.

Unsafe On The Love Boat? 

As we have reported in the past, there is a problem with sexual assaults on cruise ships, including the Carnival owned Princess Cruises and its sister company P & O Cruises.  We have commented on this problem in prior blogs - Unsafe on the "Love Boat?" - Sexual Assaults on Princess Cruise Ships and Sexual Assault Reported on P & O Cruises' Pacific Sun Cruise Ship.

Coral Princess - Sexual AssaultArrests of sexual predators on cruise ships are rare, and criminal prosecutions and convictions are somewhere between slim and none.  Cruise lines often help defend their crew members behind the scenes, in the hope of avoiding the stigma of one of their crew members going to jail. 

No Jail Time - Business As Usual For Sexual Assailants on Cruise Ships

The Daily Breeze reports that the lawyer for the Princess Cruises waiter told the jury that the passenger had retained a lawyer and had a lawsuit pending against the cruise line.  This is the type of information routinely released to the assailant's lawyer in order to taint the trial and prejudice the passenger who is victimized.  

 

 

Credits:

Coral Princess        Barbara Bagnell (via National Post)

Coral Princess Logo       Brad Graverson / Staff Photographer of the DailyBreeze.com 

Princess Cruises Sexual Assault Trial Begins

The Daily Breeze newspaper reports that the criminal trial has begun in Los Angeles of a Princess Cruises headwaiter who is accused of sexually assaulting a passenger from Kansas City. 

Coral Princess Head Waiter - Sexual Predator or Family Man?

Princess crew member Jorge Manuel Teixeira, 39, from Portugal, is charged in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles with sexually assaulting a passenger aboard Princess' cruise ship, the Coral Princess

Princess Cruises Coral Princess - Sexual AssaultAssistant U.S. Attorney Reema M. El-Amamy is quoted as saying: "This was aggravated sexual abuse. This was a crew member who met a passenger on the ship and proceeded to sexually assault her." 

The crew member's defense lawyer describes his client as a "family man" with two children in Portugal and no history of violence.

The newspaper describes that after the assault, the woman said she did not know who to turn to.  "I was scared -- and I did not know who to trust at this point," she said. "I didn't want to go to another (ship) employee."

We have reported on the problem of women being sexually assaulted on Princess Cruises ships in a prior blog: Unsafe on the "Love Boat?" - Sexual Assaults on Princess Cruise Ships.

 

Credits:

Coral Princess       Brad Graverson / Staff Photographer of the DailyBreeze.com  

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

Love BoatMost passengers don't realize the danger which women and children face on cruise ships.  For example, who would think that they are at risk of being raped on the cruise line featured in the popular television series the "Love Boat?"

The "Love Boat" - Carefree, Romantic Cruises 

Princess Cruises is a cruise line headquartered in Santa Clarita, California.  It is perhaps most famous for the Pacific Princess which served as the cruise ship for the "Love Boat."  It now operates thirteen large cruise ships: Caribbean Princess, Coral Princess, Crown Princess, Dawn Princess, Diamond Princess, Emerald Princess, Golden Princess, Island Princess, Ruby Princess, Sapphire Princess, Sea Princess, Star Princess, and Sun Princess - as well as four smaller cruise ships, Ocean Princess, Pacific Princess, Royal Princess, and Tahitian Princess. Princess markets an illusion of carefree honeymoon vacations and luxurious romantic getaways. 

Rapes and Molestation on the "Love Boat?" 

But notwithstanding its idyllic image, crew members have drugged and raped women during cruises on the "Love Boat" fleet.  Anguished parents have also reported their children being sexually assaulted and molested during cruises with Princess.

Princess Cruises - Cruise LawThe most publicized sexual assault this year involved Jorge Manuel Teixeira, a head waiter aboard Princess Cruises' Coral Princess.  According to the FBI, the Princess crew member invited a 42-year-old passenger to share a bottle of wine and then attacked her. He was charged with a federal count of aggravated sexual assault.  The 17-page FBI affidavit that describes the crime and a 100-page transcript of the crew member's interview with two FBI agents are available on line.    

Sexual Crimes on Cruise Ships are Rarely Prosecuted

What is remarkable about this particular crime is not that it occurred, but that the FBI actually arrested the crew member and he is awaiting trial.  Most crimes on foreign flagged cruise ships involve foreign crew members and do not result in arrests.  Although Princess is headquartered in California and has a base of  operations in Los Angeles, Seattle, and South Florida, it tries to use the fact that it registered its business in Bermuda (to avoid U.S. taxes) to also avoid culpability. Trust me, the country of Bermuda is not going to send a team of investigators to a Princess cruise ship sailing to Alaska and conduct an investigation that leads to an arrest of a Princess Cruises crew member.

There have been a number of sexual assaults against women and children on the Princess cruise ships over the years.  These crimes continue to this day.  I recently had to fly from Miami to Seattle to a Princess cruise ship after a Princess crew member had been drugged and raped on the cruise ship.  I have also discussed in other articles the problem with sexual assaults on the Princess sister company P & O Cruises, which like Princess Cruises, is wholly owned by cruise giant Carnival Corporation.   

Princess Cruises - Sexual AssaultForeseeability of Sexual Assaults on Cruise Ships?

A number of rapes over the last year or two have not yet been reported by the press.  However, there are cases readily available on line.  For example, in the case of  D.C. v. Princess Cruise Lines, filed in California, a 15-year boy traveling with his family reported that he had been sexually assaulted in the sauna on the cruise ship.

Princess Cruises claimed that it was not "foreseeable" that a passenger could be sexually assaulted during a cruise. Princess made this claim notwithstanding the hundreds of rapes and molestations which the cruise line industry was required to report to Congress during cruise crime hearings.  

Princess Cruises - a Problem Dating Back to 1993

The child's attorney introduced evidence that Princess knew that there had been a history of prior crimes.  The in-house lawyer for the cruise line, Mona Ehrenreich, admitted in deposition testimony that there were seven incidents of sexual assault alone from the time she joined the cruise line until year 2002. One incident  involved an assault by a crew member against a minor in a cabin.

In addition, the case contains fascinating testimony by Charles Harris, who was employed as the Senior Chief Security Officer of Carnival Cruise lines between 1991 and 1994. 

Princess Cruises' Parent Company - Carnival - A Prevalence of Sex Crimes During Cruises 

Officer Harris indicated that the problem of sexual assault on ships was "well known" and "well documented" and he was aware of the "prevalence" of sexual assaults and rapes on cruise ships. While retained in a case against Carnival, he learned that Carnival had had over 100 reported cases of sexual assault and rape on its ships. FBI agents in Miami reportedly are called to investigate a shipboard sexual assault case "about every other week."

A Lack of Transparency 

One of the problems with cruise lines is they lack transparency.  For example, last year I attended a hearing before the U.S. Senate regarding cruise ship crimes. This hearing was just one of the five Congressional hearings I have attended in the last four years regarding the problem with sexual assaults.  The cruise industry's chronic under-reporting of rapes has always been a hot topic with Congressional leaders. 

Princess Cruises - Sexual AssaultOne of the speakers at the hearing was Evelyn Fortier, the former vice president of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.  She informed the Senate sub-committee that there are three explanations for cruise line's refusal to accurately report shipboard rapes: (1) cruise ships were not required to report crimes on cruise ships and there was no way to assess whether the ships fully and accurately reported sexual assaults on their vessels; (2) sexual assaults, whether on land or sea, are historically under-reported; and (3) cruise lines conceal, under-report or misclassify sexual assaults out of fear that the bad press will cause them to lose customers. 

Added to this list should also be that the cruise lines like Princess try to avoid legal liability for the crimes their crew members commit.  Concealing or mischaracterizing rapes is one way the cruise lines try and protect their legal interests.  

These issues were discussed in an interesting article entitled: "Sexual Assaults on Cruise Liners May Be More Frequent Than Previously Reported" in SecurityManagement.com.

"Love Boat" Crime Statistics

Like other cruise lines, Princess Cruises has a problem with sexual assaults on its cruise ships. And like other lines, it pretends it doesn't have a problem.  Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009 which requires cruise lines to report all crimes to the U.S. Coast Guard and the FBI. Now it will be interesting to see just how much crime really occurs aboard the "Love Boat."

 

Photo credits:

"Love Boat"             Amazon.com The "Love Boat" Season 1, Volume 1 

Ruby Princess       Rezsox's Flickr Photostream

Coral Princess       Brad Graverson / Staff Photographer of the DailyBreeze.com   

Star Princess         Jim Walker, Seattle WA July 4, 2009       

  

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

ABC News in Australia reports that police are investigating a sexual assault which occured on the cruise ship Pacific Sun operated by Princess Cruises' sister company P & O Cruises. The alleged crime took place on the P & O cruise ship during a seven day cruise of the South Pacific near Noumea. Australian police boarded the Pacific Sun when the ship returned to Brisbane today.

At this time there is little information other than the ABC News report.  The newspapers in Australia resemble, at least to me, the British press. They are aggressive in reporting stories like this.  I expect there to be numerous articles on line soon.

In a post earlier today, I commented on the risk passengers face of sexual assault on cruises, both by crew members and other passengers. I have commented extensively on the sexual assault of P & O Cruises passenger Dianne Brimble who died on the Pacific Sun

Cruise lines have suffered from terrible publicity due to the irresponsible way that they have responded to shipboard crimes.  For example, after Ms. Brimble died, the P & O brand (a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation which also owns sister company Princess Cruises), began running a highly sexualized marketing campaign touting an image of booze and sex. 

A commenter to a previous post commented that P & O "pimped out their female passengers, with the 'Seamen Wanted' promotional postcard, depicting a deck full of women wearing bikinis, accompanied by a tag line 'More girls, more sun, more fun. There's nothing else a guy needs to know.' "  

In a post last week, I praised the leadership of P & O's CEO Ann Sherry who inherited this mess but seems to have brought a professionalism and air of transparency to the cruise line.

In the past, P & O Cruises issued a press statement following a sexual assault on the Pacific Star. 

The last time the press reported a sexual assault on a Princess Cruises or P & O cruise was earlier this year. A Princess Cruises waiter assaulted and attempted to rape a passenger aboard Princess Cruises' Coral Princess. The Princess Cruises' employee,  identified as Jorge Manuel Teixeira, 38, of Portugal, was arraigned on three counts each of aggravated sexual assault and sexual abuse.  He is awaiting trial. 

A  P & O passenger was also raped aboard the Pacific Star earlier this year as well. A newspaper in Australia reported that the P & O ship's crew found a 46-year-old female passenger in a state of shock and suffering bruises in the early hours following a New Year's Eve party.  She alleged that a 37-year-old Australian passenger raped her while she was sleeping in her cabin.  Like the instant case, the attack happened near Noumea.

Regarding this latest report of sexual assault, I expect that we will soon hear from Ms. Sherry, probably via YouTube if her lawyers will "let her do her thing."  Otherwise, the Australian press will be the only ones commenting on yet another sexual assault on a Princess or P & O cruise ship.

October 11, 2009 Update:

P & O Cruises has not issued a press release or provided an update on their website or ship blogs yet.  An online newspaper in Australia, News.com.au, reports that the alleged victim is  believed to be a juvenile.  Queensland police are investigating and have interviewed "people allegedly involved in the incident." But a police spokesperson indicated that no one had been arrested or charged. The spokesperson also "refused to say how many people were involved in the incident, or where they were from." 

 

 

   

Photo credit       Jim Walker, Star Princess, Seattle, July 4, 2009