Consult a Martime Attorney to Assist with Cruise Ship Sexual Assault
Many people across the country think that a cruise ship, with its children's activities, crew members, and vacationing tourists, should be safe haven for families seeking an escape from the worries and burdens of city life. Who envisions a vacation that involves violence of any kind?
Imagine these same people's horror when very recently, two young men were accused of raping a 15-year girl during a cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean ship Allure of the Seas. Allegedly, after meeting at a nightclub onboard, one of the young men lured the girl to his cabin, and upon entering and locking her inside with them, both men then occasioned to rape her. One of the young men, a citizen of Brazil, entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment January 30 on the count of Lewd and Lascivious Acts on a Minor. Both young men await trial for their alleged sexual assault in Broward County Circuit Court.
The young men accused of the alleged rape face severe punishment if convicted of the charges. From the standpoint of civil liability, the cruise ship operator may be responsible for money damages depending upon the circumstances. The ship's are responsible for utilizing reasonable care in providing adequate security and not over-serving passengers with alcoholic beverages. A rape by a ship employee in many instances equates to strict liability on the part of the cruise ship operator.
Some of the lapses in security that may be brought forward in a case against a cruise ship are:
- Lack of security cameras
- Absence of security guards
- Lack of checkpoints
- Easy access to restricted areas
- Inadequate lighting in stairwells and other passageways
- Missing or broken door locks
- Lack of baggage checks
Owners and operators of cruise ships can and should take steps to minimize the threat of criminal assault. Like any business, if there are certain conditions or hazards that create foreseeable risks, a property owner or business has a duty of care to remove them or be liable for the consequences that result. In any case, however, the first step is to contact an experienced Maritime attorney: one who knows the ins and outs of dealing with the laws that dictate maritime law. Only an experienced maritime lawyer can advise a family how best to proceed in a case against a cruise line.