Accidents and injuries onboard cruise vessels take place more often than anyone can imagine. Cruise lines aren’t usually keen on divulging details regarding these incidents, but our cruise ship passenger attorneys here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. are well aware of the crimes that are happening behind the scenes onboard vessels across the world. Sometimes, incidents involve a slip and fall, while other times, accidents are more serious and lead to severe traumatic injuries or even death, such as accidents involving passengers going overboard.
However, as Charles R. Lipcon describes in his book “Unsafe on the High Seas,” the number one most commonly reported cruise ship crime is sexual assault. Even though the incidence of sexual crimes on vessels is extremely high, it can take several months before these matters are even reported on the media. Cruise companies do not tend to reveal sexual crimes to the public until after a thorough FBI investigation, but because it can take so long to get to the bottom of what really happened, many times, the assailants are able to escape.
The danger of a sexual predator is that they may not ever appear to be anything out of the ordinary. With upwards of 3,000 passengers onboard some of the larger vessels, assailants can be lurking around any corner of the ship and take a victim without anyone noticing.
But while cruise lines may ask passengers whether they are ill before boarding and may check their luggage for weapons or other inappropriate objects, officials do not interrogate each passenger to find out whether or not they are sexual predators. By the time that the identity of the assailant is revealed – if ever – the cruise ship sexual assault crime has already been committed.
Attesting to exactly how common sexual crimes onboard cruise vessels are, a 30-year-old man was recently arrested after debarking a cruise ship. The man had allegedly sexually assaulted two underage teenage girls outside a South Florida shelter, but who knows how many people onboard the cruise he assaulted or attempted to harm.
The accused, Brian Denby, was arrested on Monday once he arrived back at the Port of Miami from a cruise. According to police, Denby was walking by a shelter for victims of abuse on Jan. 7 called “Kids in Distress” when the alleged sexual crime took place.
According to authorities, Denby began talking with the two girls, who live at the shelter, then hopped over the fence and sexually abused them.
The girls reported the incident and police were able to release a sketch of Denby, which led to his arrest. Denby was on vacation on a Royal Caribbean cruise in the Bahamas before being arrested. When the cruise ship arrived back at the Port of Miami on Monday, local police and federal officials boarded the vessel and arrested Denby.
According to police, Denby confessed to the crime. He is currently being held at the Broward County Jail with no bond and has been charged with several counts of lewd and lascivious battery.