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HomeNewsArchivesCARNIVAL REPORTS SEXUAL ASSAULTS OVER 5-YEAR PERIOD

CARNIVAL REPORTS SEXUAL ASSAULTS OVER 5-YEAR PERIOD

Carnival Cruise Lines crew members have been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting passengers and co-workers 62 times over a five-year period ending last August, the company revealed this week.
Carnival reported the complaints Tuesday following a court order issued by a Miami judge presiding over a case in which a former crew member sued the cruise line, claiming she was raped and sodomized by a ship's engineer in August 1998, according to an article in Wednesday's New York Times.
"The number of alleged incidents — and bear in mind that it is a list of allegations, not necessarily substantiated incidents — includes everything from sexual harassment complaints to an unwanted kiss to matters of a more serious sexual nature," said a statement sent to the St. Thomas Source by Carnival's attorney, Curtis Mase.
"Many of the incidents do not involve alleged rape," the statement said.
The list only includes complaints involving crew-on-crew or crew-on-passenger, not passenger-on-passenger allegations.
Carnival did not provide any further details on the allegations, such as what types of investigations were conducted or how many resulted in arrests, the Times article said.
"In reality, what the numbers indicate is that Carnival's ships provide a very safe environment," the statement said. "When comparing the number of alleged incidents against FBI crime statistics, even when including such a broad spectrum of allegations, it is very clear that you are significantly safer on a cruise ship than you are in the average American town."
During the five-year period in which the allegations were made, Carnival carried more than 6.5 million passengers and tens of thousands of crew members, the statement said.
No local response to the report could be obtained Wednesday.
Acting Commissioner of Tourism Monique Sibilly-Hodge did not return a call asking if the government had any comment on the report. St. Thomas Police Chief Jose Garcia also did not return a call.
A spokesman for the West Indian Co. Ltd. said he could not comment because WICO President and CEO Edward Thomas is off-island.
According to WICO, however, Carnival brings more passengers to St. Thomas than any other cruise line; between October 1997 and September 1998, Carnival ships made 193 calls, bringing more than 440,000 passengers.
This is the first time a cruise line has publicly reported alleged rapes and sexual assaults, the Times article said. Cruise lines are not required to notify U.S. law enforcement of crimes that occur in international waters, the Times report said
The alleged incidents occurred throughout Carnival's fleet and allegations were made against various levels of crew, including cabin stewards, cooks and a chief security officer, the article said.
The lucrative and rapidly growing industry has attracted attention and concern in Congress, where some members feel cruise lines are allowed to operate outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement.
"Carnival takes allegations of sexual assault very seriously and each one is thoroughly investigated," the statement from Carnival's attorney said. "As a matter of practice, we fully cooperate with law enforcement authorities according to the victim's wishes."

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