Yesterday, we reported on the case of Cunard cruise youth supervisor Paul Trotter who was arrested in February after police in England were tipped off that his home computer contained indecent images of children. When the police seized his computer, they realized that Trotter had filmed himself sexually abusing the children on the cruise ships.
We reported on the story after reading a police statement which indicated that the abuse occurred in and/or around the children’s "play zone area." Many cruises lines have lax policies and procedures and permit adult crew members to be alone with children and take them into the bathrooms in the children’s clubs.
The police had the difficult task of identifying the victims, and then faced the unpleasant task of informing the parents that their children were molested by the youth counselor whom they entrusted with their children’s safety during a family cruise.
I posted an article about this disgusting set of circumstances early yesterday morning. There were already two articles posted in England. I anticipated that the U.S. press would soon follow. After all, Cunard is owned by Miami-based Carnival and many thousands of U.S. families have sailed aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria cruise ships.
The police found evidence that Trotter abused at least 13 children. But he worked for Cunard for many years, some articles say 4 years others say 5 years. Although one victim is too many and 13 victims is a lot, do you think that is all of the victims? Trotter enjoyed the luxury of waiting for his victims in the "play zone" over the course of hundreds and hundreds of cruises where unsuspecting families dropped their kids off to be watched by him.
We know from the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case and the failures of the Catholic Church for decades, that sexual predators who target kids cannot be cured. They will abuse children for decades. First there’s one victim, then 2 or 3, then a dozen, and then the public comes to the uneasy realization that there must be many more but there will never be a definitive list. Victims, particularly child victims, are afraid to tell their parents what happened and try to suppress the trauma out of shame or confusion.
Were U.S. children victimized by Trotter in the children’s "play zones" of the three Cunard ships? Only the most naive person would think not.
Is Trotter the only child predator who worked for Cunard or Carnival? Only the most naive person would think so.
The "play zones" were Trotter’s "prey zones" where he would target his victim, groom the child, and then engage in his depravity while videotaping the crime – probably in a bathroom.
At the end of the day yesterday, there were over a hundred articles about Mr. Trotter all showing his creepy looking mug shot. All of the articles were in the U.K. and in other European countries.
Not a single U.S. newspaper or television / cable news covered the shocking news. Only this blog, Cruise Law News.
I emailed the articles to news reporters, tweeted about the crimes and challenged the local newspaper and bloggers who cover cruise news to address the issue. Everyone remained silent. Their journalistic ethics of honestly reporting on an important story fell short of their financial self-interest of not losing cruise sales or not embarrassing Cunard or Carnival or CEO Micky Arison. As I write this follow up article this Saturday morning, the U.S. media remains silent.
Newspapers like the Miami Herald and USA Today are deep in the cruise lines’ pockets. The cruise lines advertise heavily in the larger newspapers, and the "journalists" simply look the other way when stories appear that may embarrass their cruise lines friends. I have warned for years about this problem. Take a moment and read Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships or Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place to Sexually Abuse Children.
Newspapers like the Miami Herald and USA Today should be ashamed. They do the public a terrible disservice not warning parents of the dangers posed to children on cruise ships. They are happy to write puff pieces for Carnival and Cunard but avert their eyes when things go terribly wrong. They are complicit with the Carnivals and Cunards who don’t protect the children and then choose their marketing reputation over the children’s welfare.
Who’s reporting on the Cunard / Paul Trotter story as of April 21, 2012:
U.K / Ireland:
BBC News Telegraph Mail Online The Sun Daily Echo Lancashire Evening Post Pontefract and Castleford Express ITV News The Independent Swindon Advertiser Belfast Telegraph Bourne Local Huffington Post UK MSNBC News UK Isle of Man Today and a hundred others in England.
Update of U.S. Media reporting on Cunard / Paul Trotter:
Old Salt Blog – April 21, 2012
Cruise Radio – April 22, 2012
South Florida Business Journal – April 23, 2012
Sun Sentinel – April 24, 2012
Cruise Critic – April 24, 2012