Cruise Ship Cook Arrested for Sexual Assault While in Croatia

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Last Friday, on July 13, 2018, a Croatian court imposed an emergency one-month jail sentence on a cruise ship cook who may have committed sexual assault while on shore leave — the intention of this emergency court order is to keep the suspect confined and to prevent them from fleeing the country until his official trial commences.

According to reports, the suspect is a 26-year-old male, Turkish citizen.  While intoxicated, the suspect reportedly attacked and sexually assaulted a 68-year-old woman outside of her apartment building late at night — roughly 11:20PM.  Fortunately, in the present case the victim screamed for help and alerted her neighbors, who were able to intervene and prevent the violence from escalating further.

There is no additional information regarding the identity of the suspect or the cruise ship he worked aboard, at this time.

Though this incident did not occur aboard a cruise ship, we are concerned about what the suspect’s behavior means for the safety of those with whom he works, as well as passengers aboard the ship.  Rape and sexual assault are the most common crime committed on cruise ships. Operators tend to understate the issue, and continue to fail to implement proper safety measures, perhaps for fear of rising costs (administrative and otherwise).  Reports of cruise operators rehiring those who have convictions of sexual crimes are common.  In some cases, cruise operators even allow suspected crewmembers to return to their home countries prior to the case’s final adjudicated and thus avoid prosecution entirely.

If the suspect herein receives, a conviction of sexual assault and the cruise ship operator does not fire him or if the same line or another one rehires him and he rapes again, that line can be liable for significant damages.  Under such circumstances, you may be entitled to bring a claim against the cruise operator for exposing you to an unreasonable risk of injury.

Cruise Ship Operators Must Be Careful When Hiring and Supervising Crew

Passengers aboard cruise ships have no expectation of becoming victims of rape or sexual assault and so are particularly vulnerable to victimization.  Unfortunately, cruise operators do not always implement sufficient safety measures — such as private security guards located throughout the vessel — that might serve to effectively prevent the occurrence of sexual violence aboard their vessels.  In fact, cruise operators often act in ways that run counter to the interests of victimized passengers (and crewmembers).  Rape kits may not be available on the ship itself, making it even more difficult to prove that the incident occurred in the manner claimed by the victim.

Cruise operators can “fix” certain rape and sexual assault risks by exercising a basic level of care, especially in the context of hiring and supervising their employees.  The failure to vet and inadequate vetting — to ensure that applicants do not have a history of rape or sexual assault puts passengers (and crewmembers) in serious danger.  If a cruise operator engages in negligent hiring practices, or negligent supervision of crewmembers a victim of that negligence has a right of action against the operator for significant damages. However, victims must take steps to secure legal assistance and preserve their claims in a timely manner.

We Can Assist Victims of Cruise Ship Rape and Sexual Assault

If you have been sexually assaulted or raped while traveling on a cruise ship, the negative feelings — anger, shame, frustration, depression — may be incredibly difficult to overcome, and in fact, may stifle your ability to move forward with the legal process.  As such, we strongly encourage you to get in touch with a qualified attorney for assistance.  Your attorney will shoulder the administrative burden on your behalf, and will file the action, begin the process of litigation, negotiate a potential settlement, and pursue your claims all the way through to trial, if necessary.

Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina, and Winkleman, P.A., our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience litigating a wide range of maritime and admiralty claims on behalf of injured passengers, including those that involve rape and sexual assault.  We are staunch supporters of those who have been raped or sexually assaulted, and are deeply committed to the rights of everyone who has been subjected to sexual violence.

Whether you have suffered sexual violence in America or abroad, you are entitled to legal protection, and potentially damages to compensate you for your injuries (and other losses).  Though we are located in the state of Florida, we have successfully represented clients in cruise ship rape and sexual assault lawsuits worldwide — in fact, our results speak volumes about our capabilities.  We have a consistent track record of obtaining favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, regardless of location.

If you are interested in learning more about how to proceed with litigation, against the perpetrator and those that enabled him, we encourage you to contact one of the experienced cruise ship rape lawyers at Lipcon for guidance.