Cruise Ship Rape Lawyers Discuss Bermuda Sexual Assault Charge

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

On August 13, 2018, a charge a sexual assault filed against an unnamed 27-year old cruise ship passenger, the basis being he sexually assaulted a fellow passenger, came before the Magistrates’ Court in Bermuda. The accused pled not guilty to the charge. Subsequently, the Magistrates’ Court released the accused on bail ($10,000), ordered him to surrender his passport to relevant authorities, and scheduled trial for August 29.  The Court also ordered that the accused avoid all further contact with the female victim.  According to limited media reports, the accused is a New Jersey resident, the sexual assault in question allegedly occurred while the cruise ship in Port in Sandys, on Friday, August 10.

It should be noted that in Bermuda, media do not release identifying information regarding the identity of the accused (in sex crime scenarios) or the cruise ship operator until and unless there is a conviction.

We are encouraged by certain aspects of the sexual assault case at-issue.  Based on the timeline of the incident (and the subsequent processing of the case in Magistrates’ Court), it appears as though the crime was reported very soon after its occurrence.  This is a good thing — filing a report or rape or sexual assault as soon as possible with the cruise line and with land based authorities; significantly increases the likelihood that usable evidence needed for the eventual criminal and civil trials is still available and preserved.

On the other hand, we the continuing failure of cruise lines to provide safe environments for their passengers are troublesome to us.  Cruise ship rape and sexual assaults are extremely common, and in fact, cruise ship operators create situations that expose passengers to unique risks in that regard.  Cruise ships are isolated from land based police authorities; this gives passengers and crew members aboard the vessel the perception of being “unrestricted” by standard norms and legal standards they know they risk violating when on land.  Additionally, the abundant access and consumption of alcohol aboard the vessel, the party atmosphere, and events that cruise lines host over the course of a given trip exacerbates the problem.

If you have suffered acts of sexual violence while traveling on a cruise ship, you may have a legitimate claim against the cruise lifor damages.

Cruise Lines Must Make Reasonable Efforts to Minimize the Threat of Rape and Sexual Assault

Cruise lines are fully aware of the dangers of rape and sexual assault aboard their vessels, and how the environment they create — on in which there is significant alcohol consumption and a lack of formal police authority — exposes passengers to a heightened risk of sexual violence.  In many cases, cruise lines aggressively argue that they could not have prevented the rape or sexual assault at-issue.

However, the truth is that cruise lines can implement various strategies to make vessels safer for passengers (from a rape and sexual assault perspective). In addition they can also make it easier for victimized passengers to prove they were subjected to sexual violence by taking the following measures. Increasing the number of security guards patrolling the vessel (particularly during and after events that involve alcohol consumption). Having in place ship wide CCTV systems to monitor passenger safety in all common areas 24/7 and having the footage of known problem areas monitored. Placing emergency stations throughout the vessel to enable crime victims a quick alert method to vessel’s security when in danger, and by stocking the healthcare facilities with rape kits.

Cruise lines cannot absolve themselves of liability simply because a third party engaged in sexual violence — they are responsible, at least in part.  Their failure to exercise reasonable efforts to prevent cruise ship rape and sexual assault could give rise to significant civil liability.

We Can Help Victims of Cruise Ship Rape and Sexual Assault

If you have been sexually assaulted or raped while traveling as a passenger aboard a cruise ship, then the perpetrator may not only be exposed to criminal liability for committing such egregious acts, but you may also have a right of action against the cruise line for failing to provide a safe environment for its passengers.  Unfortunately, those victimized may find it difficult to come forward and bring an action — society puts a great deal of pressure on the victims of rape and sexual assault, and as such, a civil action for damages may seem overly complicated, anxiety inducing, or otherwise burdensome.  We encourage you to get in touch with a qualified maritime attorney who has experience handling cruise ship rape and sexual assault claims.  Your attorney will evaluate your case and work with you to throughout the litigation process.

Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our attorneys have over a century of combined experience representing cruise ship passengers in a range of maritime and admiralty litigation, including those that involve rape and sexual assault, whether the acts were perpetrated by a crew member or a fellow passenger.  We are strong supporters of victims of sexual violence, and are committed to the litigation of claims on their behalf — effective legal advocacy can help you obtain the justice you deserve.

The present case involves an alleged sexual assault aboard a cruise ship under the jurisdiction of Bermuda.  It is important to note that you are entitled to justice, and potentially compensatory damages, regardless of the location of the violent acts — whether you have been subjected to sexual violence in the United States or abroad.  Here at Lipcon, though our offices are located in Florida, we have a consistent history of success in litigating cruise ship rape and sexual assault claims in courtrooms worldwide.

If you would like to learn more about your claims and how best to proceed with litigation, you can  contact one of our experienced cruise ship rape lawyers for further assistance.