A cruise passenger is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl during an eastern Caribbean  cruise, according to a newspaper in West Virginia where the young man resides.

U.S. Federal prosecutors reportedly filed a motion for a guilty plea hearing in U.S. District Court in Charleston, West Virginia yesterday. Judge Joseph Goodwin scheduled the motion for hearing on Monday, July 16 at 10 a.m.

If convicted, Mr. Morrison faces up to 15 years in prison. The newspaper articles state that he is being prosecuted via a criminal information rather than a grand jury indictment, “which usually indicates a suspect plans to enter a guilty plea.”

According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Joshua Morrison, of Kenova, West Virginia, who was 18 years old a the time of the cruise and is now age Alleged Sexual Assault Cruise 21, is accused of coercing a girl from Utah, then just age 12 years old, into performing sexual acts while the two were on a cruise aboard the Carnival Conquest. The alleged crime reportedly occurred during the cruise on January 8, 2016, when he was 18 years old.

According to the criminal complaint, Morrison reportedly instructed the young girl to perform oral sex on him and eventually forced her into having intercourse. The girl reported suffered physical injuries as a result of the encounter.

The newspaper states that the child was able to remember the first name and first initial of the last name of the suspect, and that he was from West Virginia. The girl’s mother reported the alleged crime to authorities about a year after it occurred. The newspaper states that:

“The criminal complaint states the suspect was aware of the girl’s age, even telling her he had experience with women below the age of consent. The alleged assault took place in a bathroom aboard the ship. After the incident, Morrison told the girl not to tell anyone, because he could go to jail. He also threatened the victim that he would find her if she did alert the authorities . . ”

The criminal complaint (see below) filed in federal court in West Virginia alleges that Mr. Morrison violated 18 U.S.C. 2243(2) involving sexual abuse of a minor, and was verified by a FBI agent. The crime occurred on the Carnival cruise ship on the last night of the six day cruise. The incident occurred in the men’s bathroom located below the teen club on the cruise ship.

According to the complaint, Mr. Morrison pressured the child who said “no” or “I don’t know” when he asked her to have sex. Mr. Morrison told the girl that she was not the first 12 year old that he had sex with. She “felt pressured to do something with him and did not feel like she would be able to leave the restroom without engaging in sexual activity . . . ”  But he reportedly blamed the child to the FBI agent, saying: “it was her idea and I was stupid enough to go along with it. . . she did not look that much younger, but the braces gave it away . . . she was just a little kid . . .”

Like many child victims, she told her mother about the incident only after the cruise (about a year after it occurred), after first disclosing the sexual abuse to a church official. The mother then notified the FBI.

Last summer, NBC aired a special on sexual assaults on cruise ships. Approximately one-third of sexual crimes during cruises are committed against children. The crimes are perpetrated by both crew members and other passengers alike. Parents should be on heightened alert for pedophiles and perverts during cruises and should not assume that their children are safe because they are on a cruise ship.

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July 16, 2018 Update: Man pleads guilty to sexual abuse in cruise ship incident. “Morrison admitted that the sexual abuse took place on board a cruise ship in international waters on or about midnight on Jan. 9, 2016. He admitted that he was 18 years old at the time, the minor was 12 years old at the time, and he knew the minor’s age.”


Photo credit: Busted newspaper.

USA v Morrison by James Walker on Scribd

Carnival GloryA 8 year-old girl died Saturday morning after falling from a deck in an interior atrium to a lower deck on the Carnival Glory

A representative of Miami Fire-Rescue Department said the child fell "about two stories" inside the Carnival cruise ship around 8:15 a.m. after the ship had returned from a cruise in the Caribbean and Mexico and had docked at the port of Miami. Photos taken after the accident posted online show the atrium lobby with railings and glass panels around the interior decks. 

The child apparently went over the rails while the family was in the process of using the atrium elevator to disembark from the ship. 

A passenger (a retired emergency medical technician) reportedly performed CPR on the girl, until the ship doctor arrived.  Fire-Rescue paramedics then transported her to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center in "extremely critical condition." 

A Miami-Dade police detective later reported the child had died. Police indicated that they would work with the cruise line "to determine the details surrounding this incident," according to Local News 10 in Miami. 

This is not the first time that a child was fallen from an upper deck on a cruise ship. Six weeks ago, a 3-year-old girl fell from the balcony of the Carnival Breeze which was heading back to Galveston, Texas. The child survived the fall.  Several years ago, a one-year-old child crawled through an 12th floor railing and fell to the pool deck below on the Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas

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October 17, 2017 Update: 

Miami Herald: Girl, 8, got on ‘tippy toes’ to peer over cruise ship railing, then fell to her death.

Photo credit: Mark Dennis CC BY-SA 2.0, commons / wikimedia.; video credit: Local News 10 Miami. 

 

 

Italian newspapers are reporting that a 34 year-old waiter was sentenced to 10 months in jail for assaulting and attempting to rape a 17 year-old girl on the Costa Fascinosa.  The Il Gazzettino first reported the incident which occurred three years ago on October 19th during a cruise in the Adriatic Sea, between Istanbul and Dubrovnik.

La Nuova di Venezia says that the waiter, identified as Floriano Fernandes, assaulted the girl in a bathroom of the cruise ship but she successfully resisted the attempted rape. The following day, the ship called on Venice but the captain failed to report and/or delayed in accurately reporting the assault and attempted rape. In a report to the Coast Guard, the captain, identified as Ignatius Giardina, from Sicily, reportedly wrote that there Costa Fascinosawas no "extraordinary event" during the cruise. The Italian prosecutor alleged that the captain fraudulently misrepresented the fact that a crime had occurred on the ship and prosecuted him for not properly reporting it.     

Captain Giardina has worked for Costa for 36 years, first as a cadet back in1980, later as a staff captain and safety officer, and as a master for the last 16 years.   

The captain’s defense lawyer argued that "extraordinary event" referred to a navigation point of view, such as a collision, and was not referring to the attempted rape. The captain was acquitted of trying to cover the crime up. 

I first read about the assault on the Crew Center web site. 

Sexual assaults on girls and women are not uncommon on cruise ships and Costa ships in particular. In October of last year, the Italian press reported on an incident where a Costa crew member allegedly sexually molested a 15 year-old girl aboard the Costa Diadema.  Two months earlier, on the same Costa cruise ship, a bartender allegedly followed an 18 year-old French woman into her cabin and raped her.

In 2013, a female Costa security guard alleged that she was sexually assaulted by her supervisor who was permitted to fly back to his home country after the crime. She subsequently won a civil case against her employer.

This is the first case, however, where I have heard that an officer (master) of a cruise ship was prosecuted for allegedly not properly reporting an allegation of sexual assault. I have seen many scenarios where the cruise line tried to cover a rape up but I have never seen any prosecutor willing to levy such allegations in a criminal court against the master of a ship.   

Photo Credit:  By René Grob CC BY-SA 4.0.   

Earlier this week, a 10 year old child drowned in a crowded swimming pool on NCL’s Norwegian Gem

It’s the seventh time that a child has drowned, or nearly-downed, on a cruise ship in just two years. The incidents occurred on cruise ships operated by all of the major cruise lines’ ships: Carnival, Disney, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean. None of the cruise lines employed life guards at the time. (Disney subsequently changed its policy after a child sustained catastrophic and permanent injuries requiring lifetime medical care.) 

Following the death of the little girl, NCL issued a press release, which avoided the issue of lifeguards, but touted its allegedly "quick" and "full" NCL Norwegian Gemresponse by its ship’s medical team.

"On Sunday afternoon, the ship’s medical team responded to an emergency call from the pool deck, as a ten year-old female guest was reported unresponsive. The team quickly administered CPR and full emergency care. After extensive efforts, the guest could not be revived."

But witnesses on the ship dispute NCL’s PR statement.  

Several cruise passengers left messages regarding what they witnessed:

One passengers said: 

"I’m still on the Gem now. And i was right there. On this incident I can blame NCL for their lack of effort. Passengers who were nurses and doctors did all the work while NCL workers watched and looked panicked. They did not know what to do. They kept telling the real nurses and doctors to stay away. I talked to one of the ICU nurses and she said they are handling it all wrong. They told her to move away meanwhile shes yelling at them on what to do. The girl had a pulse. . . . Bottom line, NCL dropped the ball on this on big time. If you weren’t there then don’t say a thing backing NCL. Cause they did absolutely nothing. The passengers came to the rescue. Applaud them. They were fighting for the kid while NCL looked DAZED."

Another passenger remarked:

"My wife and I witnessed this tragic event right before our eyes while on board the Gem this past week. My wife is a registered nurse and tried to help, but was told ‘they were handling it and to stay away’ . . . she was completely upset with the lack of treatment she witnessed by the staff personnel. That poor girl was being worked on by inexperienced people, pool side for more than 15 minutes before being rushed down to the medical center.

As a parent traveling with 3 kids, I agree it is our responsibility to "watch our children." However the pool deck was really crowded at that time, and with those crowds it was very easy to lose sight of your kids. The family pool is 5′ – 6′ deep, which is very dangerous IMO for children and inexperienced swimmers. I’m amazed that NCL wouldn’t employ trained lifeguards with that setup.

The bottom line is an innocent child died, and my heart goes out to the family."

The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) argues that cruise lines "manage pools with the safety of passengers" by providing "signs that a lifeguard is not present."

This, of course, is double-talk. Four and six year old kids like the ones who drowned on lifeguard-less cruise ships can’t read or comprehend warning signs. A no-lifeguard sign recommended by the cruise lines’ defense lawyers is an acknowledgment that the cruise industry is committed to a policy of not providing reasonable safety to children. 

Disney Cruise Ship CrimeWKMG Local 6 (Orlando) aired the second segment of an interview with a former Disney security officer regarding an incident in 2012 when the Disney Dream staff captain ordered her to "keep her mouth shut" after she investigated the sexual assault of an 11 year-old girl by a 33 year-old Disney waiter.

The incident occurred in U.S. waters in Port Canaveral but Officer Dawn Taplin was ordered by the staff captain to be quiet.  She feared that she would lose her job if she notified the local police at the port or in Brevard county or called the FBI. She quit her job, according to WKMG, a few weeks after the crime.

Disney sailed the Dream out of U.S. waters and flew its employee home to India rather than promptly reporting the sexual molestation to U.S. law authorities who had jurisdiction.

Officer Taplin said that she felt like Disney tried to sweep the crime under the carpet, partly because the little girl and her grandmother were Brazilian. "Disney wouldn’t have got away with it if they were Americans," Officer Taplin told WKMG’s Mike DeForest.

You can watch other portions of the eye-opening interview here and here.

WKMG has been a leader in reporting crimes which occur on cruise ships.  Read and watch: "Murky reporting obscures some cruise ship crimes."

Credits: WKMG Local 6 (Orlando)

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Bahamas Sexual AssaultThe day after we listed the Bahamas as the number one most dangerous cruise destination in the world, a newspaper reports that a "17 year old American girl was left traumatised after she was strangled to near unconsciousness and forced to perform a sexual act" on a 41 year old Bahamian man on San Salvador island. 

San Salvador is one of the out islands of the Bahamas. 

The Tribune newspaper says that the girl was riding her bicycle in the dock area of Cockburn Town Monday morning when the man emerged from the bushes, forcing her to perform oral sex on him. 

Cockburn Town is the capital of San Salvador Island.  

The newspaper also says that the girl’s parents recently purchased a vacation home on the island.

The man reportedly has a mental disability and was accused of a similar act when he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman tourist at a Club Med resort.  

The man is in police custody in Nassau.  

The newspapers in the Bahamas are not bashful in reporting crimes like this.  Unlike many countries in the Caribbean which have a tendency to avoid or under-report crimes against U.S. citizens out of fear of affecting adversely affecting tourism, the Bahamas has a reputation of having a diligent and transparent press (like the Tribune below).

Bahamas Sexual Assault

Disney Dream Cruise Ship Crime Disney Cruise Line’s decision to sail its Disney Dream out of the jurisdiction to Nassau, Bahamas has caused concern and outrage not only with the local police department in Brevard County but has also caught the attention of the new Attorney General for Brevard County, Phil Archer.

After watching the video tape obtained by WKMG Channel 6 in Orlando and learning that Disney had assisted the assailant crew member in leaving the jurisdiction and avoiding prosecution, Attorney General Archer said he was "sickened."  He vowed to prosecute crimes on cruise ships which are all too often not timely reported to the local law enforcement or are ignored by the FBI.

According to WKMG, which again aired an informative report on this disturbing case, Archer said that "at least two crimes" may have occurred on the Disney Dream while in Brevard County’s waters: "false imprisonment, as the suspect cornered the child in the elevator, which he prevented from moving by blocking the door as he appeared to molest her; and lewd or lascivious molestation on a child under 12, a felony that could have produced a life sentence."

Archer characterized the Disney molestation case as "serious" and promised vigorous prosecutions of crimes like this in order to protect other families who may cruise in the future.  The local police chief also promised a more active role in investigating allegations of cruise ship crimes and completing reports.

When asked to respond to Disney’s excuse that the child’s grandmother allegedly said she did not want to pursue a criminal prosecution in the Bahamas, Attorney General Archer said: "the decision to prosecute that serious a crime in Florida rests with a prosecutor, not a grandmother."

Watch the video below:

 

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In a case likely to have long term ramifications for the image of Disney Cruise Line (Magical Cruise Company), the story of Disney-flying-a-child-molester-back-to-India which was broken by a local news station in Orlando last night has already reached a national and international audience.  

The case is essentially no different that an airline learning that one of its flight attendants, age 33, molested an eleven year old child on an airplane and then flying the crime scene, the assailant, and the victim to a foreign country where it knows that criminal prosecution is impossible. Then, to top it off, paying for the crew member to fly home to the other side of the world rather than returning him to the U.S. for prosecution.

Disney Dream Cruise Ship Sexual Crime Cover UpDisney’s outrageous conduct is not lost on reporters from around the world. 

Daily Bhaskar (India) reports Caught on camera: Disney Cruise Line employee molests 11-year-old in ship elevator.

The U.K.’s Daily Mail published The Shocking Moment Disney Cruise Line Dining Room Server, 33, Molested Girl, 11, in Ship Elevator.

The International Business Times reported: Did Disney Cruise Line Let A Child Molester Go Free?

News Beat (Greece) reports Ship worker sexually harassed 11 year old girl

The New York Daily News published Disney Cruise Line Failed to Promptly Notify Police that Crew Member Molested an 11-Year-Old Girl.

The highly respected travel writer Peter Greenberg wrote: Cruise Scandal: Did Disney Cover up Employee Sexual Misconduct?

The Stir (a popular blog catering to moms) got it right in the article Disney Cruise Employee Caught on Camera Molesting 11-Year-Old But Goes Free Anyway

There are other news articles on line from China, Romania, Turkey, and Germany about the case.

Expect others in the news media to cover the disturbing story of how the family-friendly Disney Cruise Line responds to crimes against kids on its cruise ships.  

 

Read our other articles on the case:

Images of a Disney Nightmare: Are Your Kids Safe Sailing With Disney?

Did Disney Cruise Lines Cover Up Sexual Molestation of 11 Year Old Girl on Disney Dream? 

Image credit to WKMG Channel 6 in Orlando.

Last night a local news station in Orlando Florida aired a blockbuster investigation into a crime aboard a Disney cruise ship (the Disney Dream) at Port Canaveral where a Disney waiter stalked an eleven year old girl and molested her in an elevator.

Yes, crimes occur everywhere. But the disturbing thing thing about this story is that Disney clearly knew what happened and who did it, but it took steps that resulted in its crew member avoiding prosecution. Instead of reporting the crime promptly to local law enforcement in Port Canaveral which has jurisdiction over crimes in the port, Disney left the port without reporting the crime to U.S. authorities. Disney reported the crime to the police at the next port in Nassau, Bahamas. But Disney flies the flag of the Bahamas and has a cozy relationship with that island.  

A prosecution of a Disney employee in Nassau? Never going to happen. Sure enough, Disney quickly flew the child molester back to his home country in India rather than return him to the U.S. for prosecution.   

We covered the story which you can read here: Did Disney Cruise Lines Cover Up Sexual Molestation of 11 Year Old Girl on Disney Dream?    

We created a Facebook photo album of images from the program aired by WKMG Channel 6 in Orlando, which you can see here.  A couple of images from WKMG Channel 6 Orlando are below:

Disney Dream Child Molester

Disney Dream Child Molester

Disney Dream Child Molester

 

Sexual Abuse of Children - Disney Cruise ShipOne of the web sites which I read from time to time is "TravelTruth." It is a site which describes itself as a "collaborative effort designed to offer the vacation consumer real world advice without exaggeration, deception, or sales bias. It is the ultimate insider’s view of how things really work, written by an award-winning team of travel consultants and journalists."  

TravelTruth recently addressed the issue raised by a mother who asked whether she should let her daughter vacation on a cruise ship in the Caribbean next spring.  The article is entitled "Bottom Line: Should My Daughter Do This Trip?"The article explains some of the dangers which we touch upon in this blog, namely the absence of independent police authorities on cruise ships, and the risk of sexual assault both on the ships and especially ashore in Mexico and the Caribbean islands.

If you are a parent thinking of taking your daughter (or son) aboard a cruise ship, consider reading the articles about the cruise lines below:

Sexual Assault of Children - Royal CaribbeanCarnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Disney, NCL, Oceania, Princess, and Royal Caribbean  

One of our goals at Cruise Law News is public awareness. Thus, the motto of our blog "everything the cruise lines don’t want you to know."  The TravelTruth site also provided a link to our blog for parents to read if they are considering taking their daughters on a cruise.  

Our goal is not to scare the public from cruising, but to educate the public that its not safe to let your guard down aboard cruise ships while cruising with your children.  

Photos:

Top: Disney cruise passenger Lucas George Wickes indicted for felony sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse of minor aboard Disney Wonder.

Bottom: Royal Caribbean crew member Fabian Palmer indicted for felony sexual abuse of minor aboard Adventure of the Seas.