Most cruise lines cater to families, offering a variety of activities for both minors and adults to enjoy. So, when families decide to embark on a cruise vacation, naturally the last thing on their minds is that something terrible might happen. Unfortunately, there are a range of threats that can face a family on a cruise ship – sexual assault being one of them.
Not many people might believe it, but sexual assault is the number one reported crime on cruise ships. And worst of all, several of the victims are children. Perhaps the most tragic part about sexual assaults on the high seas is the fact that many assailants get away with their crimes. Although they are required to by maritime law, cruise lines don’t always report suspected sexual crimes, or if they do, many times the reporting process is delayed, giving suspects time to disembark the ship before authorities are called to investigate. Victims’ rights aren’t always protected, which is why it is crucial for victims to consult with a cruise ship rape lawyer following an attack on board a vessel.
Sadly, another sexual crime has recently taken place on board a ship. Though any sexual crime that occurs on board a cruise ship is devastating, the particular details of this crime are even more shocking than most because the suspect is an Air National Guard in Kansas. This goes to show that anyone can be sexual predator, so it’s important not to place too much trust in strangers while on a cruise vacation.
According to a Breitbart news article online, the suspect, Paul Francis Grimm, 43, pleaded guilty to transporting a minor across state lines to Galveston, Texas, with the intention of engaging in sexual relations with her on board the Carnival Cruise Line ship, the Carnival Triumph.
The minor was a friend of Grimm’s daughter. The news report explained that Grimm told the minor’s mother he was taking his kids on the cruise, and wanted the girl to come along, but he never took his kids. In the end, only Grimm and the minor boarded the vessel.
What’s striking is that it wasn’t until the end of the cruise that the crime was brought to light. When Grimm and the minor were debarking, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) became suspicious of the fact that the passengers did not share the same last name, so they were pulled aside and questioned. Authorities later found numerous sexual paraphernalia in Grimm’s luggage, as well as nude photographs. The girl was the first to admit they engaged in sexual relations on board the ship, but Grimm denied the allegations. Grimm was later turned over to the FBI for further questioning.
Eventually he pleaded guilty to the crimes, and is currently awaiting sentencing in January.
This is good news, but can we truly say the situation was handled correctly? Why didn’t Carnival notice the difference in the last names upon embarkation? Grimm could have been arrested right away. And didn’t anyone on the ship found it suspicious that a 40-year-old man and minor were interacting throughout the entire length of the cruise vacation either?
Furthermore, wouldn’t it make much more sense for Border Patrols to screen passengers BEFORE the cruise instead of after? Or for cruise lines to do this themselves?
So many regulations could have been put in place to prevent this sexual crime, but unfortunately, not much has been done within the cruise industry to lower the rate of sexual assault and rape crimes – despite the fact that new incidents are continually reported. This is where having an experienced cruise ship rape lawyer on your case makes all the difference. Many sexual crimes result from a lack of security on board ships and the cruise line’s negligence in providing a safe shipboard environments. If it is determined that a cruise line is found at least partially responsible for the incident, the victim may be entitled to compensation. The family of the minor in this situation may benefit from seeking legal counsel in this case, because if it wasn’t for Customs agents, the suspect would have likely gotten away.