Contributors
Charles R. Lipcon

Charles R. Lipcon is the firm's founding attorney and has been handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims for over 40 years.Read More »

Jason R. Marguiles

Jason R. Margulies is an experienced maritime lawyer and an active trial attorney handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims.Read More »

Ricardo V. Alsina

Ricardo V. Alsina is an active trial attorney, handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims.Read More »

Michael A. Winkleman

Mr. Winkleman is an active trial and appellate attorney handling all personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims, as well as complex business disputes.Read More »

Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Rape & Sexual Assault

Published on:

Safety tips, cruise ship rape, spring breakersSpring break is around the corner, which means there are going to be a lot of kids, teens, and college students cruising around the world. Some will be cruising with their parents, while others will venture off into the seas with friends. Given the higher number of young passengers that will be sailing on cruise vacations in the upcoming weeks, our attorneys here at LMAW would like to take a moment to discuss one of the largest threats that often face young and female travelers while out at sea: cruise ship rape.

Though cruise vacations are intended to be fun and relaxing, they often become a breeding grounds for cruise ship rape crimes. Statistics show that sexual assault is the type of crime that occurs most frequently on cruise ships, which is why it is imperative that spring breaker cruisers remain as cautious as possible. If you have planned on going on a cruise during spring break, our cruise ship rape lawyers have three important tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of a sexual crime: Continue reading

Published on:

Cruise ship rape, sexual assault, discrepancy in reportingWhen most travelers board a cruise ship, they have a lot on their minds. ‘What activities should I do first?’ ‘Where can I get some food?’ ‘Point me to the nearest bar.’ It’s highly doubtful that any cruise passenger’s prevailing thoughts are centered on what crimes they could possibly suffer from or how unsafe they might be on their ship. But sadly, this is something all cruise passengers should be thinking about because safety isn’t always guaranteed. Unfortunately, there is a very real threat of danger with any cruise vacation –one of the largest being the threat of sexual assault.

Our cruise ship rape lawyers here at LMAW have reported on several acts of sexual assault on cruise lines that have transpired over the past few years, many of which have involved crew members and even young children. And sadly, many of the victims of these incidents did not have the chance to obtain justice – and may never be able to. Why? Because of an unfortunate, yet all too common practice among cruise lines – withholding evidence.

Continue reading

Published on:

sexual assault, cruise shipsCruise vacations should be fun, right? They should offer the perfect chance to relax and unwind, as well as the opportunity to discover new, exciting destinations. The last thing anyone ever expects is for their cruise vacation to go from fun to being a nightmare. Unfortunately, this is the reality many cruise passengers face when they become the victims of sexual assault on the high seas.

Sexual assault is the number one crime on cruise ships, yet, cruise lines appear nonchalant about these statistics. Anyone can become a victim of sexual assault on the high seas – from children to crew members! Yet, cruise lines continue to withhold evidence when reporting sexual crimes, continue to avoid hiring trained security guards, and continue to perform limited background checks on potential crew members – all of which contribute to greater prevalence of sexual assault incidents on board ships.

Unfortunately, we don’t foresee the cruise industry turning over a new safety leaf anytime soon. This means that it’s up to passengers to try and remain as safe as possible. Continue reading

Published on:

cruise ship rape, cruise ship rape lawyerTraveling on a cruise should be a pleasant experience. The image presented by cruise companies is one of maximum relaxation in exotic locales, top-tier service, and on-shore adventures that will create memories to last a lifetime. Yet, for some unfortunate passengers who become the victims of sexual assault, their cruise experience is more akin to a nightmare.

Our cruise ship rape lawyers here at LMAW hear of assault reports on a vessel more often than anyone can imagine. What’s even more disheartening is the fact that many victims do not obtain the justice they deserve. Some victims are so struck with fear of their attacker that they don’t report the crime, while other times, reporting the incident still doesn’t do much when cruise lines sweep incidents under the proverbial rug. Then, there are victims who may not even realize they are, in fact, victims.

When people hear the term “sexual assault”, many think that the term refers to unwanted forced sexual contact. The image the term conjures is one of extreme physical violence and trauma. While some acts of cruise ship sexual assault are indeed physically violent, sexual assault can take on many forms.

Continue reading

Published on:

Valentine's Day cruise risksIn our last blog, our maritime attorneys here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman talked about how a Valentine’s Day cruise can be a breeding grounds for potentially life-threatening scenarios at sea. While many cruisers embark on a Valentine’s cruise to have a good time with their significant others or even celebrate the single life with their friends, there are several risks that can present themselves on a holiday sailing. Last time, we discussed how scorned travelers can create a threatening situation on a ship. Scorned travelers are individuals who may be suffering from severe heartbreak, loneliness, or any other depressive state of mind. The actions of these passengers can be unpredictable, and can lead to troublesome situations on the high seas, including violence.

However, there are a number of other factors that can create a dangerous environment on a Valentine’s Day sailing besides scorned travelers. Below are some of the main safety threats for passengers cruising on Valentine’s Day and how to best avoid them:

 

Higher likelihood of sexual assault

Many of the individuals who opt for a Valentine’s Day cruise are single women who are just looking to have a good time with their also single girlfriends. Continue reading

Published on:

cruise ship rape, cruise ship rape lawyerNo one ever boards a cruise ship thinking the unthinkable happens, yet, as any cruise ship rape lawyer at our firm can tell you, tragedy strikes a lot more often than anyone might imagine. Sexual assault is the number one most frequently occurring crime at sea. Yet, not all incidents are reported to the public – or even federal authorities for that matter.

There are many different types of sexual crimes at sea, but regardless of the circumstances surrounding each case, at the very least, when a cruise passenger suffers such a horrific type of crime, it’s natural to think that after reporting the incident to cruise authorities, something would be done to protect the victim and ensure they can obtain justice for the unspeakable pain they have suffered. Sadly, this isn’t always the case.

Continue reading

Published on:

cruise ship rape, cruise ship rape lawyerThe recent sentencing of a Holland America crew member who raped and attempted to murder a female passenger aboard the MS Nieuw Amsterdam on Valentine’s Day, 2014, has raised several concerns over the safety of cruise ships, the efficacy of cruise line background screenings, and whether or not a victim of cruise ship rape can ever truly obtain justice, even when the assailant is caught and sentenced, as this particular crew member was.

The crew member, an Indonesian man named Ketut Pujayasa, was sentenced to over 30 years in prison in a Broward County Federal Court. Pujayasa admitted to his crimes, explaining he committed the heinous crimes after believing the victim had insulted him. Pujayasa obtained a master key to open the victim’s stateroom, where he waited for hours in her balcony until she returned. It was then that he proceeded to violently assault and sexually abuse her, before attempting to throw her overboard from the balcony. Miraculously, the victim escaped. She was present in court when the sentence was passed, but while it appears that a fair sentence was handed down, there is nothing that can erase the unspeakable pain she has suffered.

The damage incurred from the sexual assault and attempted murder can never be completely undone, and the victim continues to suffer from post-traumatic stress. Yet, despite the fact that sexual assault is the number one crime on cruise ships, the cruise industry continues to downplay the issue and has yet to incorporate an effective way to both handle and prevent these horrific crimes from happening.

Continue reading

Published on:

Holland America, cruise rape, sentencedIt’s been nearly a year since a Holland America passenger was raped and nearly killed by a cruise ship crew member aboard the MS Nieuw Amsterdam ship on Valentine’s Day, 2014. We can’t even begin to imagine the unspeakable amount of suffering the victim underwent – or the suffering any other cruise ship rape victim undergoes – but now, finally, at least some semblance of justice has been attained.

According to news reports, a verdict has been reached in the case. The former HAL crew member was sentenced to 30 years and five months in prison in a Broward County Federal Court.

Back in September, Ketut Pujayasa, the Indonesian crew member in question, confessed to brutally raping, beating, and attempting to throw the passenger overboard from the balcony in her stateroom to FBI officials. Pujayasa told officials he believed the victim insulted him, and plotted revenge against her. He then obtained a master key and entered her room while she was away, waited for her in the balcony, and once the victim came back to the stateroom, he sexually assaulted her and tried to throw her overboard as a form of “punishment”.

Continue reading

Published on:

Quantum of the SeasRoyal Caribbean recently fired a Quantum of the Seas crew member who was held in custody in New Jersey following accusations that he sexually assaulted a passenger in her cabin. The passenger was allegedly asleep when the assault took place.

The 25 year old crew member who was from Mauritius, allegedly threatened the woman against reporting the incident when she woke up. The crew member had access to the woman’s room because it was his duty to restock the cabin mini-bars. The crew member had been given a key that allowed him to have access to the woman’s room.

Given the fact that crew members are often given unrestricted access to passenger’s private rooms, one wonders what measures are in place in terms of security background checks during the hiring process. Though thorough background checks should be done, not every cruise line does so. And even when a background check is thorough, they don’t always check for criminal history in other countries, despite the fact that the majority of cruise ship crew members are foreign-born.

Continue reading

Published on:

HandcuffsIn the U.S., sex offenders are required to register with the FBI in order to let government agencies know where they will live. In all U.S. states, neighbors and citizens are warned through websites or other publications when a registered sex offender moves nearby. Megan’s Law requires that the U.S. government provide citizens with notification and information about sex offenders, including personal information about where the sex offender resides. Registered sex offenders are prohibited from being in the presence of minors or coming within a certain distance of a school or day care center.

Yet, when individuals go on a cruise vacation, it is impossible to know whether the person in the cabin next door or the fellow sitting by the pool is a registered sex offender. Cruise lines don’t have the same informational and governmental structure available to them to warn vacationers when a sex offender may be traveling on board. The results of this information gap can sometimes be tragic.

The unfortunate reality is that cruise lines do not perform background checks on passengers and guests and they are not required to warn other passengers when a sex offender is traveling onboard a cruise.

Continue reading