According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a 76 year-old man from Pennsylvania who went on a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2009 in a quest to molest boys has been arrested in Pittsburgh for "unlawful contact with a minor" and "corruption of minors," as well as providing false identification to law enforcement authorities.

As we reported in June 2010, 71 year-old Sherwood Stevenson went into the Liberty of the Seas water zone on the Liberty of the Seas and fondled a 6-year-old boy in December 2009. He attempted to fondle a second child in an adjoining Jacuzzi. Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Sherwood StevensonCaribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

In November 2011, a judge sentenced Stevenson to nearly four years and nine months in federal prison,15 years’ probation. Stevenson was required to pay a $10,000 fine and register as a sex offender.

Stevenson was released from jail in December 2014.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported yesterday that Stevenson tried offering candy to a student on a school field trip to a science center. A Pittsburgh teacher noticed Stevenson walking behind his school group. When the teacher approached Stevenson, he pointed to a 12-year-old boy and told the teacher, “I’m his grandfather, Woody.” Stevenson had asked the boy if he wanted candy and, “Do you want to go to the movies with me sometime?”

Stevenson spent almost 2 years in jail before his sentence on the cruise ship molestation case, so he subsequently served only approximately 3 years of his sentence in jail. His jail sentence seems short, especially considering that he is a repeat offender. This monster needs to be locked up for life. 

Parents should be aware that child predators are potentially everywhere, from schools trips to cruises. 

Have a comment? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

 

Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Sherwood Stevenson - Child Predator - Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas Cruise ShipMultiple news sources are reporting that a Federal Judge sentenced a Pittsburgh-area man to nearly five years in federal prison for traveling to Florida in order to take a cruise so he could molest a young boy.

Seventy-three-year-old Sherwood Stevenson pleaded guilty to traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

According to the Republic newspaper, Stevenson fondled a 6-year-old boy while in a hot tub on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship in December 2009.  When that boy got away, Stevenson made brief contact with another boy.

Stevenson told investigators he took the cruise so he could molest young boys.

We reported on the crime last summer – Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

The Federal Judge stated that Stevenson must serve 15 years’ probation and pay a $10,000 fine.  He must also register as a sex offender. 

The report of this criminal sentence comes just a week after a 14 year old girl alleges she was raped:  Carnival Waiter Sexually Abuses a Minor Aboard Carnival’s Liberty Cruise Ship.

Earlier this month a "serial rapist" was sentenced to 10 years for raping a 13 year old child during a Carnival cruise. 

A Pittsburgh man pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 6-year-old boy while on a cruise vacation sailing out of Florida. According to wpxi.com, Sherwood Stevenson, took the cruise vacation with the intent of molesting the young boy. 

Stevenson, who was 71-years-old at the time, molested the young boy in a hot tub on the cruise in December 2009. It is alleged that Stevenson pursued another young child right after the 6-year-old escaped the hot tub.

Stevenson entered into a plea agreement that will likely result in a four-year prison sentence. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the agreement took into account Stevenson’s age, history of mental illness, and the brief contact with the boy.   Our firm previously reported on the Sherwood Stevenson case in 2010:

Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas

Judge Denies Bond to Child Molester on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

 

Photo of Sherwood Stevenson:  KDKA Pittsburg

Dylan Cole Bloodsworth - Cruise Ship - Carnival - Sexual AssaultNews sources are reporting that a nineteen year old passenger was arrested for sexually assaulting a minor during a cruise aboard the Carnival Elation cruise ship.  Dylan Cole Bloodsworth (photo left) of Gautier, Mississippi was arrested by the FBI for abusing a minor while the cruise ship was sailing in international waters.  The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama will prosecute this matter, which was investigated by the FBI, Mobile Division.

The disturbing thing about this incident is that Mr. Bloodsworth was arrested a month ago for allegedly threatening to harm a 13 year old girl and her family unless she agreed to have sex with him. 

In an article entitled "Facebook Friendship Leads to Sexual Battery Charge" published on March 8, 2011, GufLive.com reported that Ms. Bloodsworth (photo right) faced "a sexual battery charge after Jackson County Sheriff’s Department officers arrested him . . . " 

"The sheriff’s office said parents of the alleged victim contacted them on February 23, 2011 alleging that Bloodsworth threatened to harm their 13-year-old daughter and her family unless she had sex with Dylan Cole Bloodsworth - Facebook Friendship - Sexual Assaulthim. The suspect and the child met on Facebook, an investigation revealed."

Bloodsworth had been transferred to a detention center.  The article indicates that Bloodsworth would remain incarcerated "until Judge T. Larry Wilson sets his bail."

It appears that Mr. Bloodsworth may have been on bail when he went on the cruise following the first incident arising out of the Facebook "friendship."   His Facebook page indicates that he was looking forward to going to Mexico early last month, just ten days after being arrested for the February 23rd incident.

Usually criminal suspects are not permitted to leave the jurisdiction when on bail, especially to go on a cruise ship with many minors.    

Cases like this should be a reminder to parents that cruise lines do not conduct background checks on passengers who sail on cruise ships.  The teenager in the cabin next to your family could be out on bail for abusing children ashore.   

 

Photo credits:

Top:  AL.com

Bottom:  GulfLive.com

 

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 Captain Peter Russell - Princess Cruises - Child Predator - Sex Crime 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  .  .  ."  

Yikes!

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:

Unsafe on the "Love Boat?" – Sexual Assaults on Princess Cruise Ships

Sexual Assault Reported on P & O Cruises’ Pacific Sun Cruise Ship     

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.

Princess Cruises - Sex Crimes - Child Molestation 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." 

 

Photo credits:

Captain Peter Russell – Dick Drayer / Picasa Photo

Princess Cruise Ship  – TravelServer

A passenger from New York has finally been imprisoned for sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl on the Disney Wonder cruise ship.

A year ago we reported on this crime – Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.

The girl’s family sailed on the Disney Wonder in December 2006.  On New Year’s Day January 2007, after the girl attended a program at the cruise ship’s teen club with other girls, twenty-four year old Lucas George Wickes approached them and ordered them to return to their rooms. He told the girl to follow him because he was a security officer with the cruise ship.  When they reached an area where no other people were around, he then assaulted the girl. 

A federal district court sentenced Wickes to 46 months in prison and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $2,667. 

A 72 year old from Pennslyvania who cruised on the Liberty of the Seas cruise ship last December remains in jail while awaiting trial on allegations that he traveled to Florida to molest boys on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Sherwood Stevenson has been held in jail since his arrest in June on a charge of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.  The sexual abuse took place in Royal Caribbean’s H20 Water H20 Water Park - Sexual PredatorPark, photo left (taken by Jim Walker).

U.S. District Court Judge Gustave Diamond in Pittsburgh presided over a detention hearing and denied a defense request seeking bond.

According to the Pittsburg Tribune-Review, Stevenson admitted to federal agents that he fondled a 6-year-old boy sitting next to him in a whirlpool sauna during the Royal Caribbean cruise.

Sexual abuse of children on cruise ships is a serious issue which the cruise lines don’t like to talk about.  Here is our blog on this problem which we wrote in June:

Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas

We have blogged regularly about the danger of children being sexually abused on cruises, particularly aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships.  In our experience, if your child is going to be sexually abused during a cruise – the chances are likely it will occur on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Here’s the latest example:

Last December, Sherwood Stevenson, age 71, of Clinton, Pennsylvania booked a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas for the purpose of molesting children.

Sexual Predator - Royal Caribbean - Cruise Ship CrimeAccording to multiple news sources, Stevenson went into the cruise ship’s water zone on the Liberty of the Seas in December and fondled a 6-year-old boy.  He attempted to fondle a second child in an adjoining Jacuzzi.

At a hearing before a Federal Magistrate in Pennsylvania, a FBI agent testified that Stevenson booked a trip on a Royal Caribbean cruise to “have a sexual encounter with a young boy.”

Unlike most predators, he admitted to the sexual crimes on the cruise ship.

Federal prosecutors said that the cruise passenger has a a criminal past with other child sexual abuse charges.

The cruise line was able to keep the incident secret until the hearing today.  Unfortunately, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean like to keep these type of crimes away from the public’s knowledge.

June 25, 2010 Update:

We received some interesting comments below from two of our readers, pointing out that parents should not permit their children to be in the water zone, or anywhere else on cruise ships, unsupervised.  I agree.  But the point is that most parents do not understand the number of sexual assaults which occur during cruises, and they are led by cruise lines and travel agents to believe that cruising is safe.

The photograph to the right is from the Royal Caribbean website under “Family Cruising.”  The photograph is entitled H20 Zone Waterpark Fun!  It certainly looks like fun.  Lots of kids with no H20 Water Zone Fun - Royal Caribbean - Child Sexual Abuseparents in sight.  Royal Caribbean goes on to say:

“While the kids are away, having the time of their lives in our Adventure Ocean® youth program, mom and dad can play. Melt your stress away in our VitalitySM Spa, press your luck in Casino Royale®, take a yoga class in the Fitness Center, dance the night away in one of our themed bars, enjoy an intimate dinner together in one of our specialty restaurants, or order complimentary room service until midnight and simply enjoy a little quality time of your own. Go ahead, have the date night you’ve been wishing for, our Sitters at Sea service will entertain your kids . . .”

The danger as I see it is that responsible parents often get caught up in the excitement of the cruise.  They let their guards down.  And the cruise lines promote the idea that they will take care of your kids while failing to provide proper warnings of the types of things that we report about on this blog.

For other information about sexual abuse on cruise ships read:

Carnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger

Update: Sexual Assault Of Children On Cruise Ships

Top Ten Reasons Not To Cruise: No. 1 – Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships – A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

Sources: wpix.com   4ABC

Photo of Sherwood Stevenson:  KDKA Pittsburg

Photo of H20 Zone Waterpark      Royal Caribbean Cruises

 

Comments:

Carolyn Barkley:

If parents attended to their children most of these examples wouldn’t happen. I’m amazed at how many parents allow their children to run in all areas of the ship without guidance. The companies have specific, safe areas for children and the adult pools, hot tubs, elevators, etc. are NOT designated safe areas. Yes, the ship’s have cameras but it only take a minute for these sick-o’s to strike. When are parents going to take some of the responsibility for the control of their children? Predators are everywhere ~ malls, parks, beaches ~ so why do parents think that when you board a ship anything will be different?

UK Cruises:

Jim, I read your blog regularly with interest. When I first came accross it, I didn’t realise the cruise industry would be such a hive of activity for the world of Law! And stories are getting more and more disturbing! I’m afraid I have to agree with Carolyn – parents shouldn’t be creating an occassion where their children can fall into these evil hands! When it comes to Royal Caribbean, I hear time and time again client’s appreciation of the fact that they can get off in ports of call and leave their children with the minders… Whilst this is perfectly safe, why do parents want to do this. They take a family holiday but can’t wait to get shut of their children. An element of laziness comes into it with parents where once they all become familiar with the ship, it feels like a safe enclosed little community and they become complacent with letting their children run round as if in their own home. The 3000 other passengers may share the ship with you, but nobody knows each other from Adam!!! This situation should never have been able to occur. A 6 year old should have been constantly under adult supervision! It isn’t just the danger of sexual predators – why was a 6 year old unsupervised in water???

Jim Walker:

Carolyn and U.K. Cruises. I agree with you both. However, the focus should not be on criticizing the parents but to educate the public that it is not safe to leave the kids alone on cruises and you drop your kids off with “certified” counselors at your own risk. Cruise lines like RCCL like to say it’s safe, but it’s not. I posted an update to explain this further. I do greatly appreciate your comments and good points!

Scare Mom:

Having worked in an area with children that were abused over 20 years ago, I do not let my children leave my sight. Because I do not trust people. Anyway now we are scheduled for a cruise in August, and I wanted to leave my 7 year old in the children area with Supervise workers while we tour an Island, Now I’m scared as hell!

In May, we reported the arrest of a 30 year old bartender who was arrested after sexually assaulting a 14 year old passenger cruising with her parents on Carnival’s Freedom cruise ship – Carnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger.  

Today a Federal District Court Judge in Orlando sentenced cruise ship bartender, Hery KrispiyantoHery Krispiyanto - Carnival Bartender Rape , to over three years and to pay about $4,360 in restitution. 

The Orlando Sentinel covered the story in an article "Cruise Bartender Sentenced to Prison for Teen’s Rape."

The minor girl told investigators that she was alone on the upper deck of the cruise ship when crew member Krispiyanto walked up behind her, grabbed her arm and pulled her into a nearby employee-only room and closed the door. The incident occurred in April 2009 and the girl told her parents in August.  Sexual assaults of minors on cruise ships are often not reported right away due to embarrassment.

Sexual assault of children is something the cruise lines like to keep secret.  We have discussed other cases before and you can read them about here.   

Lucas G. Wickes, age 25, of Rochester New York pleaded guilty in federal court to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl on January 1, 2007, on board the Disney cruise ship Disney Wonder after it left Port Canaveral for a Caribbean cruise.

The passenger approached the girl when she left a teen club on the cruise ship and ordered her to accompany him. The girl, who said she believed he was a security officer, followed him to the stern Disney Wonder Cruise Ship - Sexual Assaultof the cruise ship where the adult assaulted her. 

We reported on this crime earlier this year – Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.

We have written about the sexual assault of children in prior blogs:

Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships – A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Should Travel Agents Be Liable For Falsely Representing That Cruises Are Safe For Kids?

We have blogged regularly about the danger of children being sexually abused on cruises, particularly aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships.  In our experience, if your child is going to be sexually abused during a cruise – the chances are likely it will occur on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Here’s the latest example.

Last December, Sherwood Stevenson, age 71, of Clinton, Pennsylvania booked a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas for the purpose of molesting children.  

Sexual Predator - Royal Caribbean - Cruise Ship Crime According to multiple news sources, Stevenson went into the cruise ship’s water zone on the Liberty of the Seas in December and fondled a 6-year-old boy.  He attempted to fondle a second child in an adjoining Jacuzzi. 

At a hearing before a Federal Magistrate in Pennsylvania, a FBI agent testified that Stevenson booked a trip on a Royal Caribbean cruise to "have a sexual encounter with a young boy."

Unlike most predators, he admitted to the sexual crimes on the cruise ship.

Federal prosecutors said that the cruise passenger has a a criminal past with other child sexual abuse charges.

The cruise line was able to keep the incident secret until the hearing today.  Unfortunately, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean like to keep these type of crimes away from the public’s knowledge.

June 25, 2010 Update:

We received some interesting comments below from two of our readers, pointing out that parents should not permit their children to be in the water zone, or anywhere else on cruise ships, unsupervised.  I agree.  But the point is that most parents do not understand the number of sexual assaults which occur during cruises, and they are led by cruise lines and travel agents to believe that cruising is safe.

H20 Zone Waterpark Fun! - Royal Caribbean - Sexual AssaultThe photograph to the right is from the Royal Caribbean website under "Family Cruising."  The photograph is entitled H20 Zone Waterpark Fun!  It certainly looks like fun.  Lots of kids with no parents in sight.  Royal Caribbean goes on to say:

"While the kids are away, having the time of their lives in our Adventure Ocean® youth program, mom and dad can play. Melt your stress away in our VitalitySM Spa, press your luck in Casino Royale®, take a yoga class in the Fitness Center, dance the night away in one of our themed bars, enjoy an intimate dinner together in one of our specialty restaurants, or order complimentary room service until midnight and simply enjoy a little quality time of your own. Go ahead, have the date night you’ve been wishing for, our Sitters at Sea service will entertain your kids . . ."     

The danger as I see it is that responsible parents often get caught up in the excitement of the cruise.  They let their guards down.  And the cruise lines promote the idea that they will take care of your kids while failing to provide proper warnings of the types of things that we report about on this blog. 

 

For other information about sexual abuse on cruise ships read:

Carnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger 

Update: Sexual Assault Of Children On Cruise Ships

Top Ten Reasons Not To Cruise: No. 1 – Cruise Lines Are A Perfect Place To Sexually Abuse Children

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships – A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

 

Sources: wpix.com   4ABC

Photo of Sherwood Stevenson:  KDKA Pittsburg

Photo of H20 Zone Waterpark      Royal Caribbean Cruises