Local ABC News Station 10 reports that a 51-year-old man faces a lewd and lascivious conduct charge “after being accused of kissing a 5-year-old girl on the mouth while on a cruise over the weekend.”

Miami-Dade police arrested Ernest Richard Bishop, Jr., of Morning View, Kentucky, on Monday, after the Carnival Sunrise returned to Miami on October 3, 2022 after leaving the port of Miami on September 29th for a four-day cruise to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico.

According to an arrest report, the local news station reported that the child’s father witnessed Bishop kiss his daughter while the Carnival cruise ship was at sea on Saturday night, October 1st.

The report states that Bishop refused to speak with Miami-Dade police after they escorted him to jail.

News Station 10 reports that Bishop submitted a $7,500 bond.

The Carnival Sunrise was formerly named the Carnival Triumph. It’s a relatively old cruise ship built in 1999.

Sexual misconduct is the number one crime reported on cruise ships, according to data maintained by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Cruise lines are legally required to report sexual assaults as well as certain other crimes which occur on their ships pursuant to the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. In the past, the cruise ship crime data was maintained by the DOT and available on an internet portal. Unfortunately, the DOT stopped reporting the data in April of 2021 as the cruise industry struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the DOT was still reporting about criminal sexual acts on cruise ships before COVID-19 shut the industry down, there were  fifty-three (53) rapes on Carnival Cruise Line ships reported from January 2019 through March 31, 2020. During the same time period, there were thirty-three (33) rapes on Royal Caribbean operated cruise ships and seventeen (17) sexual assaults on NCL ships. Most such alleged sex crimes on cruises go un-prosecuted.

Carnival Cruise Line leads the cruise industry with the most reports of sexual assaults. The cruise line has a per capita rate of nearly 40 (39.6) per 100,000.

The per capita rate of sexual assaults on Carnival ships of 40 per 100,000 is significant. It is a higher per capita rate than twenty states, including California, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Georgia (and over a dozen other states). See, Carnival Cruise Line Leads Cruise Industry with the Most Sexual Assaults.

Typically, only the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has jurisdiction to investigate crimes involving U.S. citizens on cruise ships.  The exception is when a cruise ship departs and returns to a port in Florida. In such situations, either the FBI or Florida state/local law enforcements officers can assert jurisdiction when a U.S. citizen is the victim or perpetrator. Florida is the only state where local police can assert jurisdiction over crimes at sea. If this Carnival ship had left from a U.S. port other than in Florida, only the FBI would have had jurisdiction. It is highly unlikely that the FBI would have involved itself in making the arrest of this passenger.

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Source: Local ABC News Station Channel 10; Images; Carnival Triumph/SunriseScott Lucht – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia.