Lawsuit Alleges Cruise Line Employee Raped 11-Year-Old
Norwegian Cruise Lines is being sued after a family claims that their 11-year-old daughter was raped by a 27-year-old male steward. They say the steward used his master key to enter the girl’s stateroom while she was asleep. The family says that they told the man that she was trying to rest and to leave her undisturbed. But the man instead entered her room saying that he was delivering laundry. He left but returned later telling her that he was going to teach her how to make towel animals. After leaving and returning again a third time, the man (identified only as Clifford) began his assault on the girl, picking her up and kissing her. He then returned a fourth time and that’s when the rape occurred.
Reporting the Rape
Cruise lines don’t have police officers aboard them. Instead, they have private security that is beholden only to the cruise lines. The girl’s parents attempted to report the rape and that’s when they say things went from bad to worse.
She and her mother went to the infirmary where they were questioned by the staff captain, the head of security, and the doctor—all of whom were men. They say this process took hours. They then demanded that the girl remove her clothes and avail herself to an inspection. The mother and daughter refused. At this point, they had been questioned for four hours, according to their complaint. The girl’s mother screamed at the top of her lungs, demanding to leave the infirmary and it was only then that the two were allowed to go back to their cabin.
Attorneys for the family say that Norwegian Cruise Line failed to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of children aboard the vessel. The problem for Norwegian Cruise Lines is that the assailant was an employee. They are automatically liable for the conduct of any employee who is on the clock.
In terms of securing the safety of their guests, especially in sexual assault cases, is that there is a conflict of interest. The onboard security wants to secure the interests of the people who pay them (ie: the cruise line). They are not there to secure the interests of their guests who are accusing them of facilitating rape.
The lawsuit claims that ship employees are not adequately screened for security purposes and this puts guests (and especially children) in danger of becoming the prey of sexual predators. It’s no secret that pedophiles and rapists will exploit the ambiguity of jurisdiction to carry out attacks on unsuspecting victims. What’s more concerning, however, is how cruise lines react to reports of sexual assault aboard their vessels.
Victims and their families are often left feeling like they’re the ones under investigation. Unfortunately, this case is not unique.
Talk to a Cruise Line Injury Attorney Today
If you or someone in your family was the victim of a sexual assault aboard a cruise vessel, the Miami admiralty & maritime attorneys at the office of Michael F. Guilford can sue the cruise line under the theory of negligent security. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.