When vacationing on a cruise ship, the last thing most travelers think about are dangerous people lurking around them. Cruises are supposed about entertainment, relaxation, and an escape from the real world. Unfortunately, there are times when these getaways turn into nightmares, often because of the conduct of others on the ship.
For example, last Thursday the Orlando Sentinel reported the arrest by federal prosecutors of a 31-year old Florida man on suspicions of gang-raping a 15-year old girl aboard a Carnival cruise ship. The cruise ship rape allegedly took place the prior weekend involving a 15-year old girl, the 31-year old attacker, and a group of teenage boys. According to the report, the older man was with his wife on the ship, the Carnival Sensation, while the girl was traveling with her parents. The victim and her friend (another 15-year old girl) were invited back to the older man’s cabin along with the group of younger boys. Once inside, the male group allegedly locked the friend in the bathroom while forcefully raping the other girl.
The cruise industry is well-aware of the risks of sexual assault on these trips. The nature of the situation makes it a haven for those willing to take advantage of others–there is no police protection or easy way to stop an assault once started. Sadly, the wide scope of this problem continues to be hidden, because so many affected never speak out. Recent statistics reveal that anywhere from eight to nine of every ten crimes committed on these ships is never reported–that includes crimes as serious as rape.
Accountability is a crucial part of ensuring all reasonable steps are taken in the future to prevent similar attacks. Those who are affected by rapes or other assaults on these vessels should visit with a cruise attack lawyer to learn about how the law applies in these situations. The attorney can ensure all those who played a role in the incident are held accountable to the full extent of the civil law–beyond any criminal actions that might result.
It is important not to wait too long, however. Special legal rules often apply in cruise ship cases. That may include tight statute of limitation rules, requiring legal action to be taken soon after the incident. The bottom line is there is nothing to lose by seeking out legal help, sharing your story, and learning more.The pair was eventually allowed to leave the cabin. The victim was treated for her injuries as a result of the attack while on the ship.
When questioned later the group of teen boys claimed that the older man provided the girls with alcohol. They said that at the time of the attack the girl was apparently too inebriated to resist the boy’s advances. For his part, the 31-year old man admits to having sex with women other than his wife while on the cruise, but he does not remember having sex with the girl. He thought he passed out on the night in question before the attack occurred.
It goes without saying that a full investigation needs to be undertaken to determine exactly how this was allowed to happen. The incident should not be swept under the rug.
Cruise Ship Sexual Assaults
Unfortunately, this latest story is yet another reminder of the fact that these ships are some of the most dangerous places–particularly for young women and girls. While the cruise industry portrays these spaces as a safe-haven, countless stories continue to emerge of physical and sexual assaults aboard these vessels.
The Miami cruise ship accident attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. have been dedicated to protecting the rights of travelers and cruise ship employees who have been sexually assaulted for more than thirty years.