One of the most commonly reported crimes aboard cruise ships is sexual assault and rape. Cruise crime stats are reported quarterly, and some quarters cruise ship sexual assault reports outnumber all other reports of crimes, including theft and assault. The majority of victims are women and children.
The following is an excerpt from a complaint Hickey Law Firm, P.A. filed on behalf of a cruise ship sexual assault victim. The assault occurred on June 7, 2019 aboard the Carnival Dream cruise ship.
"The cruise line encourages passengers to sign in their teenagers and leave them with the cruise line with the assurance that their children can have fun in a safe environment without them as a special feature of Carnival’s cruise experience. Carnival’s representations along with their sign in/sign out requirement give parents and/or guardians of teens the impression that Carnival’s teen centers are a controlled environment that is safe and secure for them to leave their children. The cruise line chose to undertake the duty to supervise teens signed into their care by parents and/or guardians. However, Carnival knew or should have known that without supervision teenagers can be vulnerable and preyed upon by adult passengers and/or crew members. With this knowledge, Carnival knew or should have known not to release the teen until a parent and/or guardian comes back for teens. The cruise line knew or should have known that it must take reasonable care to account for all children and ensure that they do not leave the teen center without a parent or guardian collecting them. Carnival knew or should have known to contact parents and/or guardians on their cell phones and/or P.A. system and/or wait with teens until a parent and/or guardian retrieves their child.
On June 7, 2019, the day of the incident, Carnival allowed B.R. to join the shipboard teen center. Carnival allowed B.R.’s father, JOHN DOE, to sign and drop off his daughter B.R., 14 years old, into Carnival’s teen center. Carnival required JOHN DOE to sign in his daughter with his signature to document that he is B.R.’s father. JOHN DOE signed her daughter into the center at approximately 3:00 p.m. JOHN DOE went to the teen center at 5:05 p.m. expecting to find his daughter ready for pick up and to sign her out of the center. Instead, Carnival had already turned off the lights and locked the room despite Carnival’s sign in/sign out policy required by the cruise line. Carnival chose to release B.R. from the teen center without waiting, calling her father on his cell phone or on the P.A. and waiting with her for her father to pick her up.
THE RAPE. Carnival chose to release B.R. and allow her to walk alone to the Lido Deck thinking she would see her father. During that time a male passenger, approximately 25 years old, told B.R. that he knew where to find balls to play ping pong. Because Carnival chose to release B.R. and not wait for B.R.’s father, JOHN DOE, Carnival left B.R. to follow the male Carnival passenger to a room where he raped her. B.R., a minor, did not and could not legally consent to the sexual acts described herein. B.R., a 14-year-old, did not report the incident at the time due to extreme shame, embarrassment and fear.
The cruise line is negligent for failing to provide a reasonably safe ship for its passengers. Carnival is negligent for failing to warn B.R. and her parents that Carnival would release and/or not wait for a parent to pick up B.R. from the teen center and therefore put at risk.