Today the Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda is reporting on the beginning of a criminal trial in Bermuda where a 40 year old crew member is accused of raping a female crew member on a cruise ship flagged in the Bermuda. The newspaper reports that the case involves a crew member who is accused of raping a younger crew member. The newspaper does not identify the name of the accused crew member althought it states that both crew members are Filipino nationals who worked on the same vessel." The newspaper does not even name the cruise line or the cruise ship. Last month we reported that the alleged crime occurred on a Princess cruise ship and Filipino crew member Johnwill Reyes Abdon, age 40, was the Princess Cruises crew member who allegedly committed the crime. The incident occurred on the Caribbean Princess, a Bermuda-registered vessel, on December 28, 2010. It is not unusual for the press in the flag state to try and conceal the name of the cruise line, the cruise ship and the cruise line employee involved in alleged crimes like this, in order to avoid embarrassment to its cruise line customer. The 26-year-old crew member became pregnant after the incident. She testified that Ms. Abdon sexually assaulted her. Ms. Abdon denied the charges and said that the encounter was consensual. As we previously reported, sexual assaults on cruise ships are common, notwithstanding the efforts of the cruise industry to convince the public otherwise. We attended five Congressional hearings since 2005 where Congress was provided with evidence of literally hundreds of incidents of sexual assaults on cruises. Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein studied cruise crime statistics provided to the U.S. Congress and concluded that passengers run nearly twice the risk of being sexually assaulted aboard a ship than they do on land. We have written about rapes on Princess Cruises before in articles: Unsafe on the "Love Boat?" – Sexual Assaults on Princess Cruise Ships and Princess Cruises Sexual Assault Trial Begins. The unusual thing about this case is that the police in Bermuda (where the ship is flagged) actually traveled to South Florida and arrested crew member Abdon, and then flew him to Bermuda to face the charges. Getting the local police from the flag state to arrest crew members on cruise ships around the world is rare. Extremely rare. Whether a jury in Bermuda will convict a Filipino crew member who commits a crime against another Filipino crew member seems questionable. Given the deplorable conviction rate aboard foreign flagged cruise ships in Princess Cruises' fleet, it is questionable that Mr. Abdon will receive jail time – even if he committed the crime. Heck, the press in Bermuda will not even mention that one of the cruise ships flagged in Bermuda is even the location of the alleged crime. Photo credit: raflucgr.ra.funpic.de
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