A newspaper in the U.K. reports that a cruise ship captain pled guilty last October to sex crimes against a 14 year old girl. The Spalding Guardian newspaper identifies the sex criminal as Captain Peter Russell, who entered the girl’s cabin, apparently when her parents were not present, and performed an unidentified sex act on her.
The U.K. newspaper indicates that after the cruise, Captain Russell contacted the girl on the internet and made obscene suggestions about the girl’s breasts, urged her to perform a sex act, and requested that the girl take a photograph of herself naked and send it to him. According to the article, the disturbing circumstances were revealed to the child’s parents when the girl broke down in front of her father and showed him the online conversations.
Captain Russell subsequently admitted to the unlawful sexual activity with a child on the cruise ship and over the internet.
As is often the case, the newspaper did not identify either the cruise line or the cruise ship where the crime occurred. The available information on the internet indicates that Master Russell captained a number of different cruise ships for Princess Cruises, including the Sun Princess and Sea Princess. We asked Princess Cruises for information about when this occurred, what cruise ship was involved, how long Captain Russell worked for Princess and what, if anything, it did when the crime was committed. No response so far.
We have written many articles about the danger of passengers leaving their children alone in cabins on cruise ships, and trusting the cabin stewards and waiters. Little did even we consider the depravity of a captain of a cruise ship targeting a little girl like this. Consider this observation of Captain Russell during a Princess cruise from an unsuspecting passenger:
"After a day or so at sea we realised the ship’s good-humoured tone was hugely influenced by Captain Peter Russell, a warm Englishman who spreads himself around the passengers like a favourite uncle at a wedding. The crew adore him. Forty-five years at sea, from tankers to cruise ships, Captain Russell exudes nautical wisdom and is also a bubbling fount of humorous stories . . ."
We have also written several blogs about the problem of sexual predators on Princess Cruises and the disturbing attitude that this cruise line, known ironically for the iconic "Love Boat" series, has toward sexual crimes against women and children like this. In my opinion, Princess Cruises has one of the best deserved reputations for sex crimes on its cruise ships and engaging in cover-ups of such crimes. Take a moment and read:
Below is the unedited article from the Spalding Guardian:
SHIP CAPTAIN JAILED FOR TEEN SEX OFFENSES
"A ‘world class’ cruise ship captain from Donington has been jailed for nine months for sex offences against a 14-year-old girl while she slept in her cabin.
Lincoln Crown Court heard on Thursday how Peter Russell (64), of Bicker Road, performed a sex act on a teenage girl while she was asleep in her bunk.
The victim thought she had dreamt the incident but it later came to light when Russell chatted to her on the internet on MSN Messenger and made obscene suggestions.
Matthew Lowe, prosecuting, said Russell made comments about the girl’s breasts and urged her to perform a sex act while chatting to him over the internet.
Russell went on to request that the girl take a photograph of herself naked and send it to him.
The incidents came to an end when the girl broke down in front of her dad and showed him the records of her online conversations she had with Russell.
Russell admitted two charges of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity together with sexual activity in the presence of a child and a further charge of sexual activity with a child.
Judge Sean Morris jailed Russell for nine months and placed him on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.
The judge told Russell: ‘You are a sea captain of great distinction and have a glittering reputation.’
‘You have brought that crashing down.’
Russell worked throughout the world as a captain of oil tankers for the Esso oil company and, following his retirement, went on to skipper cruise ships.
William Powell, defending, said: ‘He stands before the court an utterly humiliated person.’
‘His outstanding career is in complete ruins. He is a man who has disgraced himself to an appalling extent.’
‘He has spent almost his entire career at sea.’
‘He retired from Esso at the age of 50 with a reputation as a world class player.’
‘He was up there with the elite. He was hugely regarded.’
Mr Powell said that Russell went on to skipper cruise ships but his job came to an abrupt end following his arrest.
He urged the judge to show mercy to Russell who was previously a man of ‘good character.’
March 27, 2011 Update: Princess Cruises provided the following information to us:
"We only found out about this incident when contacted by the Linconshire Police in May 2010. Nothing about this incident was ever reported to us. We understand that this involved a family member, and that the incident occurred in 2008. We tried to get more information from the Police but they would not give us much because they said it had nothing to do with Princess. He worked for Princess at the most 4 years. He signed off from the Sea Princess at the end of his contract in Dec. 2009. He did not work on board any of our ships again."
Captain Peter Russell – Dick Drayer / Picasa Photo
Princess Cruise Ship – TravelServer