Charles Lipcon on George Smith Case



Broadcasted nationally Tuesday, August 9, 2005
Subject: Charles Lipcon on George Smith Case
Program: Scarborough Country

With me now is somebody who has spent 30 years on cases like this one, Miami attorney Charles Lipcon.

Charles, thank you so much for being with us.

We hear-I mean, obviously, you have got a possible murder on this cruise. You have got a couple of other situations, a possible rape that was videotaped. This cruise sounded like it was out of control. Are sex assaults, rapes, violent crimes, the exceptions or the rules on these cruise lines?

CHARLES LIPCON, MARITIME ATTORNEY: Well, I think they are far more common than most people realize.

In handling these type of cases, I have come across statistics. With Royal Caribbean, they-one statistic is that, out of 173 sexual assaults in about a three-and-a-half year period, the cruise lines had a perfect record. That perfect record was, nobody was prosecuted.


SCARBOROUGH: Wait. Wait. Wait a second. You-wait. Wait a second. You are saying, out of 173 possible sexual assaults, that is your number, not ours, but you are saying, out of 173, not one person has been prosecuted?

LIPCON: Exactly. And, normally, law enforcement…


LIPCON: Why? Because the-I have my own opinions on that. I believe the cruise lines, you know, this is bad publicity for them. They go out of their way to make sure that prosecutions cannot occur.

And then you couple that with the fact that you are dealing with concurrent jurisdictions between Third World countries, flag of convenient states, FBI, who gives it a low priority, and what you have is, you have open season on the high seas. The crew members know they can…


SCARBOROUGH: No, I was just going to say, that really is-that’s shocking. Again, you say open season on the high seas. Again, I am looking at this number that you are telling us. I am going to invite the cruise line on. They need to come on and dispute that fact, if they can.

Let me ask you this. Based on your 30 years’ experience investigating cruise lines, what do you think happened to George Smith IV on the night he vanished?

LIPCON: I handled almost the identical case involving a Royal Caribbean cruise line vessel. Husband and wife are in the casino. The wife is given a roofie. She appears to everybody to be drunk. The husband takes her back to the room. She is gang-raped. They later find her walking the hallways without her undergarments on, not knowing what had happened.

And the husband was in the casino continuing to gamble. So, based on that and the other cases I have handled, my-right now, based on what I know, I think the two of them were drugged, so they appeared totally intoxicated. They are taken back to the room. The wife is being taken advantage of. The husband is a big guy. So, maybe he came out of it. You know, there wasn’t enough drugs. He came to. Or maybe he was drinking, and it was not enough to keep him unconscious, and he became a witness.

So, they just killed him and tossed him over the side. And I think that-that fits all of the facts that I am aware of at this time, and it certainly fits in with what I have seen in all of these years that I have been handling these cases.

SCARBOROUGH: Now, you say what you saw in actually a case that you said is almost identical to this case.

Let’s now turn to criminologist Casey Jordan.