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

 

Tonight, ABC’s Nightline will cover the story of a 14 year old child who was sexually assaulted by a Carnival crew member aboard the Freedom cruise ship. 

Krispiyanto Rape Carnival Freedom Cruise ShipThis is a story which we covered last May:

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

Hery Krispiyanto, age 30, from Klitren, Yogykarta (Indonesia) worked aboard Carnival’s Freedom as a bartender.  The 14-year-old girl, identified only as "Taylor" to protect her identity, was vacationing with her parents during the Carnival cruise which left Fort Lauderdale in April 2009.  During the cruise, the minor and her parents became acquainted with Krispiyanto who waited on the family.  When the minor was alone on the upper deck of the ship one night, Krispiyanto walked up behind her, grabbed her arm and pulled her into a nearby employee-only room and closed the door, court records disclose. 

We have written many articles about the problem of crew members preying on children on 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?

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

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

 

Krispiyanto Statutory Rape - Carnival Cruise Line - Cruise Ship

 

Photograph top   Seminole Co. Sheriff’s Office (via Palm Beach Post)   

Photograph bottom    Hery Krispiyanto’s Friendster page

Two weeks ago, we reported on a case where a judge in Illinois entered an order prohibiting an alleged child sexual predator from going on a cruise (with his wife) after he was caught allegedly trying to arrange a sexual tryst with a 13-year-old girl.  The Court had released the alleged sexual predator on bond on the condition that he not leave the U.S. or have contact with children. The Court enforced the bond condition when the alleged predator asked for permission to go on a previously booked cruise on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship.

This case was unique because there is also no law prohibiting sexual predators, accused or convicted, from cruising.  It’s the first time I have heard of a judge keeping an accused predator off of a cruise ship.   

George Neville Rucker - Cruise Ship - Sexual PredatorThe issue whether sexual predators (accused or convicted) should be permitted to cruise re-surfaces with a blog article posted yesterday by the Miami News Times – "George Neville Rucker, Accused Predator Priest, Allowed Aboard Voyages of Discovery Cruise to South America."  Written by Michael Miller, the article tells us that a defrocked Los Angeles priest accused of sexually molesting 33 girls just set sail on a three month cruise of South America on the M/V Discovery, operated by a South Florida based cruise line, Voyages of Discovery.

The article explains that advocates for sexual abuse victims accuse the cruise line of being irresponsible for permitting an accused sexual predator aboard a cruise.  The priest had last been charged with molesting 12 girls in 2002.  Ironically enough, he had been caught by Alaskan state troopers aboard a cruise ship bound for Russia.  The charges were subsequently dropped after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California’s attempt to prosecute older molestation cases. 

The Miami New Times interviewed Steve Novello, President of All Discovery Cruising (which owns Voyages of Discovery), who is quoted saying "I’m not sitting here and saying that we’ll just take anyone’s money.  (Rucker reportedly paid $12,000 for his cruise ticket). But as a cruise line we can’t discriminate against anyone who’s been accused of something and never convicted."

The Times also quotes Mr. Novello saying: "You’d better mention in that article every other cruise line that takes passengers aboard.  Some of them take people on board who I’m pretty sure have Voyages of Discovery - Discovery Cruise Shipbeen convicted of things.  It sheds a bad light on us in a situation where . . . our competitors are doing the same thing." 

Of course, the cruise line president is right.  All cruise lines have an open door policy for sexual predators.  As we pointed out before, because there is no law barring predators from cruise ships, there are situations where a sexual predator can book a cruise for the express purpose of molesting a child, a situation which happened earlier this year on a Royal Caribbean cruise – Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

But Mr. Novello’s comments raise the issue whether cruise lines can institute policies to ban accused predators from their cruise ships?  Because there is no law prohibiting predators from cruise ships does not mean that a cruise line cannot institute their own policies. 

Cruise lines seem to do whatever they want to in most circumstances.  They can ban passengers from bringing a bottle of wine aboard.  If they can stop a bottle of Chardonnay at the gangway, they can just as easily institute a policy of banning sexual predators.  Certainly they can refuse passage to a notorious monster like ex priest Rucker, accused of molesting over 30 children.

Is a potential "discrimination" lawsuit by a sexual predator justification for cruise lines having no policies barring pedophiles from cruise ships?  I suppose it depends on your priorities and sense of morality.  If I were the CEO of a cruise line, I’d declare my cruise ships "predator free zones."  When scumbags like Rucker tried to buy a cruise ticket, I’d tell them to go to hell.  And if an accused deviant like Rucker were foolish enough to file a "discrimination" lawsuit against my company, I’d be happy to pay my defense lawyers a boat load of money to defend the case.          

 

Photo Credits:  

Top photo of Ex Priest George Neville Rucker – BishopAccountability.org (Sex Abuse Allegations Against Los Angeles Archdiocese Priests)

Bottom photo of M/V Discovery  U.K.’s Mail Online

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!

On September 7th, Canada Border Services Agency officers nabbed crew member Edward Brillantes Mangubat after they searched his laptop computer and found sexually explicit movies featuring children.

Cunard - Queen Mary 2 - Pier 21 - HalifaxMangubat worked as a stagehand on Cunard’s cruise ship Queen Mary 2.  The Chronicle Herald reports that he had worked on cruise ships for seven years.

Today, Mangubat pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 120 days in jail.

Canada vigorously enforces its laws against child pornography.  This is the third case this year where the Canadian Border agents arrested a crew member from a cruise ship.  Most of the crew members are arrested at Pier 21 in Halifax (photo, left).  

If you think child pornography and sexual predators are rare on cruise ships, consider reading:

Another Carnival Crew Member Busted for Child Porn

 

Photo Credit:  Travel and Transitions

The Chronicle Herald in Canada reports today that a crew member on a Carnival cruise ship which that visited Halifax was arrested and charged with smuggling child pornography into Canada.

Carnival Cruise Child PornographyThe newspaper indicates that 26-year-old crew member Nyoman Putra, an Indonesian working as an assistant room steward on the Carnival Glory, allegedly had child pornography on a laptop computer.

Canada Border Services Agency officers were inspecting crew members getting off the cruise ship when they nabbed the Carnival crew member at Pier 22 in Halifax.  Canada’s border agents do a good job catching crew members who try and enter the country with child pornography.  

The Canadian newspaper writes that Putra is the second cruise ship employee to be charged with having child pornography so far this year in Halifax.  In May, a Filipino who was an assistant waiter on the Costa Atlantica was sentenced to four months in jail for possession and importation. 

Putra was an assistant cabin attendant.  It should concern any parent who cruises with their children to think of pedophile cabin attendants coming into the stateroom.

Parents don’t like to think about these things, and the cruise lines and travel agents hate to admit these things happen.  Consider the following articles:

Costa Crew Member Caught With Child Pornography  (caught at Pier 22 in Halifax too!)

Carnival Cruise Ship - Child PornographyPerverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships (Carnival crewmember caught with child pornography in Halifax!!)

Another Crew Member Arrested for Child Pornography  (NCL crew member caught with child porn in Halifax!!!) 

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

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

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

Cruise Ship Passenger Sentenced in Child Porn Case

Most Wanted Rape Suspect Arrested On Carnival Cruise Ship – Worked As Manager Of Onboard Hair Salon

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

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