MIAMI, FL—July 26, 2011 – Pittsburgh prosecutors offered a plea agreement on July 20, 2011 to a 72-year-old man who boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise ship with the intention of engaging in illicit sexual activity with children in 2009. According to information provided by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, prosecutors evidently offered the plea deal upon considering the defendant’s age and psychological background, as well as the duration of the said molestation.
Associated Press reports indicated surveillance cameras aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Liberty of the Seas caught ex-chemical engineer Sherwood Stevenson inappropriately touching a 6-year-old boy in a hot tub, only a few days into the Dec. 2009 cruise voyage. Although the young boy managed to escape after a few minutes, Stevenson momentarily fondled another child aboard the ship.
Had it not have been for Stevenson’s plea agreement, pleading guilty to <interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct would have likely landed him in prison for a decade. Stevenson, who was booked into Allegheny County Jail, is expected to spend approximately four years in prison in connection with the cruise ship sexual assault case.
Reports noted that Stevenson is prescribed psychiatric drugs for an unspecified mental illness, which prosecutors seemed to take into account prior to offering him a plea bargain in the child-sex case. Stevenson is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on Nov. 22.
According to U.S. Department of Justice statistics posted on the website for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 15 percent of sexual assault and rape victims have yet to even reach the age of 12. Overall, 44 percent of victims are under the age of 18, with 29 percent of the total accounting for individuals between the ages of 12 and 17.