In The Wake of Alleged Sexual Assaults on 13 Children aboard Cunard Cruise Ships, Seasoned Miami Maritime Attorneys Voice Concern about 16-Month Spike in Reported Abuse at Sea
The maritime law firm of Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman (LMAW) expressed its concerns today about the spike in sexual assault incidents on cruise ships in the last 16 months. Onboard sexual assaults are required to be reported by the cruise industry and include rape, molestation, unwanted intruders in a room and other types of criminal sexual contact. These assaults at sea are reported whether the victims are passengers or crew members, adults or underage children (minors).
“There were 13 sexual assault incidents reported during the entire year of 2007 by all the cruise lines combined”, said LMAW principal, Jason Margulies. “Now we read in the news that 13 boys are the alleged victims of sexual assault by the employee of just one of the cruise lines.”
Margulies noted that the number of sexual attacks at sea was about 40% lower during 2009-2010. “But we saw a real spike again in 2011, when the reported complaints related to onboard rape & sexual assault surpassed the 2007 total and jumped up to 14 incidents. In many ways 2012 is looking even ‘worse’ when you consider the frequency of sexual assaults on cruise ships-we’ve already seen 6 incidents reported in the just the first 4 months of this year.”
What makes the 2012 reported incidents even more remarkable are the number of people victimized, especially underage children. In the 6 incidents reported this year, only one of the victims was an adult passenger, and of the 14 reported sexual assaults in 2011, just 6 of the those victims were adults.
“We’ve represented plaintiffs in a large number of these sexual-assault-at-sea cases over the years,” said Margulies, “and there’s usually one assailant and one victim. Typically the assailant is also apprehended quickly after the incident so that more passengers aren’t victimized. But when children are sexually abused the crime can remain a tightly locked secret for years. That’s why this week’s news that one assailant allegedly victimized 13 children-who were under his care on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 cruise ships-is so unfortunate.”
Charles Lipcon, founder of LMAW, has represented plaintiffs who have been sexually assaulted on cruise ships in numerous cases against the major cruise lines in the past 35 years. His popular eBook, “Unsafe on the High Seas”, shares the wisdom he’s acquired to help cruise line passengers anticipate and then avoid the conditions onboard a cruise ship that can lead to these unfortunate incidents. Taking additional precautions with your children’s personal safety is also highly recommended.
About Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A.
Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is an award-winning Miami, FL law firm that focuses on maritime and admiralty personal injury claims against cruise lines and other boat owners. Lipcon’s maritime lawyers represent passengers and crew injured on ships worldwide. Representation may be available for passengers and crew injured in accidents, assaults or by reason of illnesses on cruise ships, tankers, motorboats, and personal watercraft as well as many other types of vessels.
The Lipcon firm’s attorneys consistently receive the “AV” Preeminent rating of 5.0 out of 5.0 from their peers for their high ethical standards and professional ability. Several of the firm’s attorneys have also received the “SuperLawyers” Award, recognizing their high degree of professional achievement in maritime law.
Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A extends its thanks to Professor Ross Klein of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, whose website, www.cruisejunkie.com, provided data for this article. Dr. Klein testified in a U.S. Senate hearing in March 2012 about the rampant safety issues on today’s cruise ships.