In one of the most brazen, startling attacks on a child, in cruise ship sexual assault cases on Cruise Bruise, the case of Princess Cruises’ cruise ship Captain Peter Russell, 64, of Bicker Road, Donington, UK, a farming area, was brought to our attention by a Cruise Bruise visitor, with verified employment as a Princess Cruises officer.
The officer contacted Mike Groves, our head of safety and security here at Cruise Bruise with a story so crazy, it was simply hard to believe. This is only half of our visitor’s story. The other half, still very shocking, is here.
A 14-year-year-old child told her parents that she was sexually assaulted in her cabin, in her bed, as she slept by Princess Cruises’ Captain Peter Russell. The thought of that is really just too hard to grasp. It was so hard to grasp, the child thought it was dream.
After arriving home from her cruise, the child realized it was not a dream. Apparently, the captain had let himself into her cabin with as master key card. The girl began getting contacts from Russell on MSN Messenger, asking for nude photos of herself, engaging in indecent conversation and asking her to perform a sex act on herself while chatting online with him on her home computer. That was when the child realized it was no dream, and produced the chat transcripts for her parents.
Her parents contacted police and on October 14, 2010, having admitted the crime, Peter Russell was convicted of two charges of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity together with sexual activity in the presence of a child and a further charge of sexual activity with a child.
In a typical United Kingdom ‘soft-on-child-sex crime’ sentence, Russell was sentenced to only 9 months in prison and required to register as a sex offender in the United Kingdom for a period of 10 years. The light sentence was given because Russell’s attorney said his client had a long history of honor at sea. That of course, might be because Russell was only caught for this one crime. Are we do believe that Russell woke up one morning, late in his life, and decided to be a child molester?
It is unclear which ship Peter Russell was the captain aboard on during the attack, but records put him on both Sea Princess and Sun Princess in recent years. Captain Peter Russell was working for Carnival Corp since they purchased the Cunard Line in April 1998. Before that he had been employed with Cunard Line for a number of years. He retired at age 50 from Exxon as a tanker captain.
This puts child molester Peter Russell working on cruise ships for at least 13 years, perhaps as many as 18 years, before he was arrested and convicted for the attack on this child. The question now posed is, how many children did he actually molest aboard his ships or in port? Given how brazen this particular act was, it would seem he had significant confidence in his ability to get away with molesting. It gives some insight as to why security doesn’t monitor the security cams 24 hours a day. Imagine what they would see!
I asked Cruise Bruise partner maritime attorney Charles Lipcon of Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, PA if cruise ship sexual assaults are getting prosecuted and if we are getting convictions as a whole.
“Unfortunately sexual assaults against teenagers on cruise ships seems to be increasing. The use of date rape drugs also enters into the mix. It is my personal belief that the word is out, that sexual assaults on cruise ships do not get prosecuted. In our office we are getting more and more calls about these assaults which supports my theory that sexual predators know that they do not have to worry too much about prosecution for their crimes. This coupled with the belief by parents on cruises that they are totally safe on board the vessel can lead to catastrophic consequences. The parents let their teens roam the vessel, unaware that danger is lurking from both crew members and other passengers.
In handling these types of cases for over 30 years, I have only been aware of two prosecutions in the last year. These cases were prosecuted because Congress has been looking into the situation. One case resulted in a not guilty verdict. This involved an adult and it was her word against the crew members word. It was a classic he said, she said situation. The not guilty is surprising because most crew members are forbidden from socializing and drinking with passengers. The second case which involved a 14 year old girl resulted in a negotiated guilty plea and jail time. Hopefully as prosecutions increase, the sexual assaults will drop in frequency. However, I am not too hopeful about that occurring. In the meantime parents need to keep a close eye on their children.”, said Mr. Lipcon.
Russell, the one person parents should have been able to trust aboard, certainly had the passengers fooled. On one cruise ship review website, Cruise.com.au, they glowingly praise Russell. ” After a day or so at sea we realized the ship’s good-humored tone was hugely influenced by Captain Peter Russell, a warm Englishman who spreads himself around the passengers like a favorite uncle at a wedding. The crew adore him. Forty-five years at sea, from tankers to cruise ships, Captain Russell exudes nautical wisdom and is also a bubbling fount of humorous stories. “I come from Yorkshire,” he joked in one address to passengers. “From a race of people with short arms and long pockets. But that doesn’t mean I won’t help you to spend your money and have a great time so you’ll all come back to us again.”
On another website, Holiday Watchdog, a cruise review in January 2009 for the Sea Princess says, ” captain Peter Russell from Yorkshire i might say he is a down to earth man and he mingles and has time to chat to you, go to the formal nights and the captain’s circle.”
While most cruise ship passengers would find a friendly captain an asset, it would seem that Russell’s friendliness was more self-serving as he cased passengers looking for a victim. What makes this case so disturbing, beyond the sexual assault, is that captain has the run of the ship. He can go inside any room on the ship whenever he sees fit. It’s the law of the high seas.
It’s also the law of the high seas that everyone beneath the captain in rank, is under his control. They do what he tells them do to, which includes when to keep their mouth shut. A rogue captain is the industry’s worst nightmare, from a passenger’s point of view. It violates the trust of passengers and brings to mind the fact that the captain of the ship is not always honorable and can in fact be the worst criminal aboard.
This makes this case the most horrifying on Cruise Bruise. If you can’t trust the captain of the ship not to molest your children, who can you trust? You certainly can’t trust him to report other sexual assaults, when he’s a child molester himself. That contention is alleged by the Princess Cruises officer reporting this case to us.
Australian Cruises in the South Pacific have had a reputation over the years of being “anything goes” cruises. From the Schoolie Cruises with out-of-control underage alcohol drinking to the sexual assaults that accompany the problem.
Then there was the renoun Dianne Brimble case, that seemed to sum up the attitude of many passengers aboard Australian cruises, anything goes.
As well, there has been a problem with pedophiles boarding cruise ships out of Australia, in order to sail to Noumea. Noumea seems to be a favorite destination for pedophiles.
Prior to this case, the worst case of a child molester in cruise industry history was the serial child molesting CEO of a cruise line. That case is here.
What I find unsettling is that Princess Cruises never announced this sexual assault and arrest of a captain who worked for them for so many years. Given the other claim the Princess Cruises’ officer made, we have to wonder what else Princess Cruise is hiding when it comes to shipboard sexual assaults.
If you sailed on a cruise ship with Captain Peter Russell, and had any concern for your child during the cruise, any reports from your child that you simply dismissed as too crazy to consider, please contact us, as well contact police. Peter Russell will be out of prison in the summer of 2011. If you have information that can put him back in prison, please come forward.
Originally Posted at: www.cruisebruise.com