The Miami New Times published a disturbing article this afternoon "Royal Caribbean Sued After 17-Year-Old Girl Allegedly Raped by Cruise Singer." The article by Michael Miller involves an encounter between a 17 year old passenger ("Jane Doe") and a 31 year old Royal Caribbean crew member employed as a singer in a band on the unidentified cruise ship. After the crew member bought the minor a piña colada, two rounds of "Jaeggerbombs" and "a few more drinks," they ended up in the crew member's cabin where the rape allegedly occurred. "Another man" (apparently another passenger) then ended up in the cabin and took pornographic photos of the drunken girl, according to the article. The lawsuit alleges that the minor was required to prepare a written statement while she was still intoxicated. She was then permitted a medical examination, where her blood alcohol level was .101. The curious part of the article is the newspaper writes "Royal Caribbean, which is based in Miami, could not be reached for comment regarding the lawsuit." This is odd because the Miami New Times is here in Miami and a short distance down Biscayne Boulevard from the port where Royal Caribbean is located. it is less than clear whether the reporter called the cruise line or tried to make contact with any law enforcement who may have been involved. It is my understanding that the cruise line notified the FBI which quickly ended its investigation and arrested no one. The cruise line then undoubtedly terminated the crew member involved. Like most (alleged) cruise rapes, this case ended as soon as it was reported. The (alleged) victim will be left with no recourse except to file a civil case. The fired crewmember will probably end up working on a Carnival cruise ship in six months. What happened in the cabin? Did a rape occur? I don't know, I was not there. There will be no criminal jury impaneled to weigh the evidence. But whatever happened, one thing is certain – the minor was served a great deal of alcohol, sold by a crew member to another crew member, both of whom knew that the cruise line has a policy against serving minors with alcohol. The minor appears to have been drinking the piña colada, two "Jaeggerbombs" and "a few more drinks" in public, undoubtedly in view of other crew members who were aware that minors can't be served alcohol and that crew members cannot "fraternize" with passengers, whether they are adults or minors. Incidents like this may or may not be a crime. We have only the victim's allegations so far, with no statement by the cruise line. But these type of events do not happen in a sober environment or in a serious setting where security personnel are on alert. When I read these type of stories or am contacted by women in similar situations, I am quickly reminded of the "anything goes" mentality of shipboard life on cruise ships. Did the parents of the girl (who are not mentioned in the article) have any idea how many incidents of overserving minors and sexual assaults occur during cruises? Royal Caribbean needs to improve its alcohol policies and procedures. Cruise lines earn hundreds of millions of dollars a year pushing the sale of alcohol, some of which is consumed by young girls who end up in places on cruise ships where they should not be alone. Photo credit: Royal Caribbean drink menu via Cruise Critic
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