Cruise Line Bartender Sentenced to Prison for Teen’s Rape

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Unfortunately, sexual assaults happen on board cruise ships much more often than one would expect. Our cruise ship injury law firm has handled numerous cases involving sexual assault by a cruise ship crew member on a passenger. Even more tragic, several of these cases have involved minors.

Jurisdiction over Sexual Assualt Cases on International Waters

Most of the time, when rape or sexual assault occurs on a cruise ship, the perpetrator of the crime gets away with it. The reasoning is due to several factors, including the lack of prompt reporting and investigation by the cruise line, as well as the complexities of jurisdiction over such crimes. Cruise ships may be registered in foreign countries, and most of the crimes happen in international waters where laws are different than in the US.

Recently, congress passed legislation to hopefully deal with many of the problems faced by United States passengers who are the victim of a sexual assault or rape on board a cruise ship. This legislation includes reporting & investigation requirements and clarifies some of the jurisdictional issues that got in the way previously of there being an adequate investigation performed.

A bartender on the Carnival Freedom cruise ship, identified as the assailant, took a fourteen-year-old into a restricted area onboard the ship and then sexually assaulted her. The crime was reported to the FBI and the assailant was taken into custody. The cruise ship employee pled guilty to a count of sexual abuse of a minor. The crew member was sentenced to jail plus has to pay $4,360 as restitution.

Keeping Adults and Children Safe on Cruise Ships

The incident again reminds the public that these types of events do happen on cruise ships and must be aware of this. The public image portrayed by the cruise lines has always been that a cruise is a carefree, no problem type of vacation, the love boat comes to the mind of most people. Carnival Freedom refers to their cruise ships as “fun ship,” which may cause people to let their guard down when on a cruise, making them more vulnerable. It is essential to be aware and carefully discuss cruise ship safety issues with your children when traveling with them.


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Brett Rivkind is a lawyer that not only cares but also a lawyer that makes a difference. Whether its speaking in congress to help promote safety awareness in legislation or representing clients in court seeking compensation for their injuries, Brett Rivkind is passionate about his dedication toward both promoting safety at sea and helping clients in need who have been harmed at sea.

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Jury verdict obtained by Brett Rivkind selected to hall of fame of jury verdicts. This case is believed to be a record verdict of this particular type of case.

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