One of the purposes of the new Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Law is to educate the public regarding the sexual assaults and other crimes which occur on cruise ships.
But as we reported in our article Cruise Lines, FBI & Coast Guard Caught Altering Cruise Crime Law, the FBI and Coast Guard – acting to promote the cruise lines’ interests – undercut the Congressional purpose of the new cruise crime law. The cruise lines and these two federal agencies changed the language of the law to eliminate most cruise ship crimes from being reported.
Originally all cruise ship crimes were required to be disclosed to the public. But with the altered language, cruise crimes not reported to the FBI, or those crimes reported to the FBI and still under investigation, do not need to be disclosed to the public.
A good example of how the cruise lines are trying to hide crime statistics is a recent case this year involving a young girl raped on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. We reported on the crime in January. A fifteen year old girl was lured from a teen club and raped by another teenager and a 20 year old man, Luis Scavone (photo left), on the last night of the cruise. The minor promptly reported the crime after she escaped from the rapists’ cabin.
Royal Caribbean allegedly "sealed" off the crime scene and reported the crime to the FBI and the Broward County’s Sheriff’s Office in the cruise ship’s home port. In Florida, local law enforcement also have jurisdiction over crimes on the high seas on cruise ships which return to a port in Florida.
But rather than preserving evidence of the crime scene, Royal Caribbean unlocked the "sealed" cabin and cleaned the cabin. It destroyed evidence in the crime scene. Once the FBI learned of the cruise line’s misconduct, it left the cruise ship and declined to prosecute.
The FBI was willing to let the two rapists (from Brazil) walk free after raping a girl. Even more disturbing is that the evidence destruction occurred on a cruise ship supervised by a former top FBI officer, Gary Bald (photo below left), who now heads Royal Caribbean’s security department.
The FBI agents should have arrested cruise line employees for the destruction of evidence, but the FBI looked the other way and simply closed its investigation. The cozy relationship between the FBI and its former FBI agents, who are now working for the cruise lines, sometimes leads to the former and present FBI agents scratching each other’s backs rather than protecting the public.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Department, on the other hand, was not deterred by the cruise line’s misconduct and arrested the two Brazilians. The State Attorney’s Office for Broward County then prosecuted the two suspects and obtained guilty pleas from both. The 20 year old Brazilian man pled guilty last week to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery in the rape of the girl. He is now behind bars.
You would think that the rape of a child on the world’s largest cruise ship would be documented on the online database maintained by the FBI and Coast Guard. That was the intent of the cruise crime law. But the FBI decided not to report it. Take a look here at the FBI statistics. There is not a single report of a sexual assault for Royal Caribbean in 2012. In fact, there is not one report of a violent sexual crime against a cruise passenger for the entire cruise industry this year.
In prior years, the FBI reported over 400 crimes on cruises a year. But now with the altered language in the cruise crime law, the FBI and cruise lines are concealing crimes. The FBI online database lists only 13 sexual crimes for all of last year.
The bottom line is that even thought the cruise rapist is in jail after pleading guilty to state prosecutors, the FBI refuses to reveal the crime to the U.S. public on the online database required by the cruise crime law.
There is monkey business going on here.
The FBI and the cruise lines who routinely hire FBI agents are in cahoots. Congress needs to investigate how they derailed the law. And the U.S. public needs to know how a law designed to protect women and children on cruises has been sabotaged to protect the image of the billion dollar cruise industry.