While many people might believe that the most frequent types of incidents onboard cruise vessels involve some form of slip and fall or negligence claim, in actuality, sexual crimes are the number one incidents that take place on the high seas. Cruise ship sexual assault, rape and other sexual crimes take place more often than anyone can possibly imagine. The worst part about these kinds of incidents is that they rarely go reported and many times, the offenders get away with their crimes because investigations take too long to resolve, the evidence is not maintained, or the witnesses cannot be found. When a cruise line sexual crime is reported, the FBI is usually called to help investigate and details of the incident are seldom released, even after the case has been closed. Cruise ship law requires the names of victims to be withheld until investigations conclude, but because of the nature of these crimes, assailants have
plenty of time to evacuate the vessel before they are caught and prosecuted.
Luckily, one man who was involved in a cruise ship sexual crime was caught and brought to justice. The incident took place earlier this month, and involved a cruise passenger engaging in various forms of child pornography. According to federal authorities, an Idaho man who had taken a cruise from Port Canaveral earlier this month had more than 1,000 images of child pornography on a laptop he took onboard the vessel. According to a complaint filed in Orlando federal court, authorities inspected passengers onboard Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas cruise ship on Dec. 10, and encountered Gary Lee Reed.
Federal agents explained they searched Reed’s laptop and found roughly 1,162 images and videos of child pornography. Around 350 of the victims in those videos have already been identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The complaint said the images included sex abuse on toddlers and babies.
Reed, of Blackfoot, Idaho, admitted to federal agents that he has viewed child pornography for many years. He was arrested and was recently indicted by an Orlando federal grand jury on a child pornography charge. It is not immediately known whether any of the pornographic images were of children onboard the cruise ship, but in the event they were, the families of the victims may be able to file a lawsuit against the cruise line for failure to maintain safety onboard.
Cruise ship sexual assault is not uncommon, but what is done to protect victims before incidents occur is the responsibility of cruise lines. All passengers and crewmembers must be kept reasonably safe from harm and when that safety is compromised, cruise line companies may be found liable for any resulting crimes and injuries. Anyone who has ever been subjected to sexual crimes while on a cruise vacation can contact our attorneys at Lipcon for assistance in filing a case. With our help, victims may be able to obtain damages and medical care for their pain and suffering and those responsible for the incidents may be held accountable for their actions and negligence.
Photo Credit: cruisefever.net