Two weeks ago, we reported on a case where a judge in Illinois entered an order prohibiting an alleged child sexual predator from going on a cruise (with his wife) after he was caught allegedly trying to arrange a sexual tryst with a 13-year-old girl.  The Court had released the alleged sexual predator on bond on the condition that he not leave the U.S. or have contact with children. The Court enforced the bond condition when the alleged predator asked for permission to go on a previously booked cruise on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship.

This case was unique because there is also no law prohibiting sexual predators, accused or convicted, from cruising.  It’s the first time I have heard of a judge keeping an accused predator off of a cruise ship.   

George Neville Rucker - Cruise Ship - Sexual PredatorThe issue whether sexual predators (accused or convicted) should be permitted to cruise re-surfaces with a blog article posted yesterday by the Miami News Times – "George Neville Rucker, Accused Predator Priest, Allowed Aboard Voyages of Discovery Cruise to South America."  Written by Michael Miller, the article tells us that a defrocked Los Angeles priest accused of sexually molesting 33 girls just set sail on a three month cruise of South America on the M/V Discovery, operated by a South Florida based cruise line, Voyages of Discovery.

The article explains that advocates for sexual abuse victims accuse the cruise line of being irresponsible for permitting an accused sexual predator aboard a cruise.  The priest had last been charged with molesting 12 girls in 2002.  Ironically enough, he had been caught by Alaskan state troopers aboard a cruise ship bound for Russia.  The charges were subsequently dropped after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California’s attempt to prosecute older molestation cases. 

The Miami New Times interviewed Steve Novello, President of All Discovery Cruising (which owns Voyages of Discovery), who is quoted saying "I’m not sitting here and saying that we’ll just take anyone’s money.  (Rucker reportedly paid $12,000 for his cruise ticket). But as a cruise line we can’t discriminate against anyone who’s been accused of something and never convicted."

The Times also quotes Mr. Novello saying: "You’d better mention in that article every other cruise line that takes passengers aboard.  Some of them take people on board who I’m pretty sure have Voyages of Discovery - Discovery Cruise Shipbeen convicted of things.  It sheds a bad light on us in a situation where . . . our competitors are doing the same thing." 

Of course, the cruise line president is right.  All cruise lines have an open door policy for sexual predators.  As we pointed out before, because there is no law barring predators from cruise ships, there are 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.

But Mr. Novello’s comments raise the issue whether cruise lines can institute policies to ban accused predators from their cruise ships?  Because there is no law prohibiting predators from cruise ships does not mean that a cruise line cannot institute their own policies. 

Cruise lines seem to do whatever they want to in most circumstances.  They can ban passengers from bringing a bottle of wine aboard.  If they can stop a bottle of Chardonnay at the gangway, they can just as easily institute a policy of banning sexual predators.  Certainly they can refuse passage to a notorious monster like ex priest Rucker, accused of molesting over 30 children.

Is a potential "discrimination" lawsuit by a sexual predator justification for cruise lines having no policies barring pedophiles from cruise ships?  I suppose it depends on your priorities and sense of morality.  If I were the CEO of a cruise line, I’d declare my cruise ships "predator free zones."  When scumbags like Rucker tried to buy a cruise ticket, I’d tell them to go to hell.  And if an accused deviant like Rucker were foolish enough to file a "discrimination" lawsuit against my company, I’d be happy to pay my defense lawyers a boat load of money to defend the case.          


Photo Credits:  

Top photo of Ex Priest George Neville Rucker – (Sex Abuse Allegations Against Los Angeles Archdiocese Priests)

Bottom photo of M/V Discovery  U.K.’s Mail Online

  • Carl Hancock

    How exactly are you expecting cruise lines to even know when someone should be barred from a cruise? It isn’t that I am opposed, it’s just how are they supposed to stop it from happening? Are you advocating criminal background checks on all passengers booking a cruise?

  • Carl:

    Thanks for your comment and inquiry.

    I propose running all passengers (and crew members of course) through a sexual predator data base, increasing the number of security guards, monitoring CCTV cameras, and warning parents of the risk of the type of people mentioned in my article.

    The notion that a cruise line is afraid of doing something to protect children out of fear of a “discrimination” lawsuit by these type of criminals and alleged criminal reflects weakness and moral bankruptcy.

    Jim Walker

  • Cynthia Falter

    All I know is after this man tortured me and m siblings in such a manner it destroyed my childhood and our family ties …. I am left with nightmares of what he will continue to do if gone unchecked in more rural countries. This man was so evil and cunning he should of never been left to walk free. He draged me out of my class room 1st 2nd and 3rd grade and did the unmentionables! I was tiny and believed he was a Man Of God! How can he get away with using the bible to rape tiny children and still go freely to other countries unchecked. I have suffered from flash backs PTSD and nightmares for decades because of this man ! Not to mention a loss of family ties and unable to maintain a relationship with a mate. Perhaps you people will see fit to notify authorities on each harbor so he can not harm or destroy another child’s life!

    At the very least WATCH HIM CAREFULLY,

  • Cynthia:

    Thanks for your comment, which puts this issue into perspective. I’m very sorry for the pain this dirt bag has caused you.

    Jim Walker

  • chris

    While I would in no way want any child hurt, and while I am aware that an accused sexual predator could very well be a real sexual predator and could potentially hurt my children, I just cannot believe what I’m seeing. There is no registry for accused sexual predators. Why? because they are not CONVICTED sexual predators. In all of your hysteria about these (probable) dirt bags getting on cruise ships, you have forgotten that until someone is convicted of a crime, they are innocent. I could accuse anyone of a sexual crime… a group of girls in Salem accused several women of witchcraft… and they were all killed. The only thing that keeps us from becoming a pack of wild animals is the rule of law. We have to use the tools we have been provided to incarcerate sexual predators, and then do our best to keep them there. We must be alert and keep our children from strangers who might harm them on a cruise. We cannot punish those for crimes they may not have commited. If a person is accused of being a sexual predator, then wouldnt they be remanded to custody? Wouldnt they be forbidden to travel? Wouldnt they have to surrender their passport? I believe a cruise would be less attractive to a sexual predator than your local shopping mall.

    Please people. Check your hysteria, and entertain the thought that you are blowing this WAY out of proportion. The girl who was attacked on a cruise? Where were her parents? Who was the perp? Did they have a prior record? I bet a quick glance over the facts would show they did not.

  • Chris:

    No one is talking about punishing sexual predators who have not yet been convicted of their crimes. Your analogy to burning “witches” at the stake at Salem is overblown. We are simpling debating whether cruise lines should keeping them from taking a cruise vacation.

    Ex priest Rucker is certainly more than just an “alleged” pedophile predator. With allegations of raping and molesting 33 little girls (including one who left a comment above), the Catholic church de-frocked him only after the U.S. Coast Guard nabbed him fleeing on a cruise to Russia to escape criminal charges back in 2002.

    He would not be welcome on any cruise ship I operated. It sounds like if you ran the cruise line you would take his cruise fare and welcome him aboard, hoping that the parents who didn’t know he has a nasty past protected their children?

    If you want to criticize parents, then call the parents of the 6 year old molested on the cruise and tell them that they are bad parents. And while you are doing that, call the parents of the 33 little girls who Rucker is accused of molesting and tell them that they are bad parents too.

    The assumption that someone is innocent until they are found guilty beyong a reasonable doubt is an oath that jurors must take in a trial. But it is not an oath that anyone must take until they are sworn in as a juror. It is a dangerous thing for any adult to suspend their rational thought process and ignore common sense and real life experiences.

    Jim Walker

  • Tammy M. Helm

    My name is Tammy and I was molested and raped by George Nenille Rucker for a long time, because in the 60’s this type of thing was nothing to the catholic church and untill enough people came forward he was cool. I have police reports on Rucker where the church promised to take care of the problem. Well they took care of the problem by sending him on to another un-assuming church for him to work at, where he continued ruining lives. This is what the man does, and these un-assuming, “off the beaten track” (as they are advertised) island ports, will have no idea, but he will be there long enough to be welcomed by some poor people, thinking he was sent to help them, and he will help himself. He will ruin lives like he has done for years and the church could care less. Believe me, they know where he is and what he is doing. These are all true cases and the only reason he is not in jail is because of the Stogner case that was heard by the Supreme Court and lost in a 5-4 vote. THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS DOES NOT PROTECT THE INNOCENT, UNASSUMING 6YR OLDS, sometimes it just allows predators to go on with the crimes that have had time to become second nature. Our lives have been ruined by this monster!! He must be stopped!!He will continue untill he is!!