During her off-hours, in 2005, my Daughter was with other employees on the Cruise Ship, where she had been working. Another employee handed her a drink and said, “Drink this”. Within 30 minutes of drinking it, she has no memory of the night. When she awoke the next morning, she knew something was wrong. She was weak, shaking, nauseous, and with no memory of the night before, but she knew something had happened. She went to the ship’s nurse, at which time she also told the security officer. The only thing administered was a breathalyzer, no rape kit, and then, they sent her back to her room…
Later, after regaining her senses, she told them she would press charges. Again, they did not administer a rape kit, but just questioned the person who had given her the drink and helped her back to her room. At that time, he told them, “It was consensual”.
All of the people, who were with her, said there was “no way” that it was consensual, because she was too “out of it”. Again, she told them that she wanted to press charges. Once more, The Security Officer interviewed her repeatedly asking, “Are you sure? Do you want to change your story?” After 45 minutes of this interview she again reiterated she wanted to press charges and left the interview.
Later that same day, she was called into the Security Office, where her supervisor was also present. at which time, they terminated her for “being drunk while on duty”, giving her 15 minutes to gather her belongings and get off the ship. She was in shock! As her supervisor walked her back to her room to collect her things, she informed him of the sexual assault, but he claimed to know nothing about that. Either her supervisor was lying or the security officer failed to report this to anyone.
They left her on the dock in Kauai on Veterans Day, where she had no money or access to money. My brother convinced her to go to the Emergency Room and have a rape kit done. She walked 15 miles, dragging her suitcase. When she had the rape kit done, the Honolulu PD came to the hospital to take her statement, and she told them that she wanted to press charges. This was the first time that her assault had been reported to law enforcement. The next day, detectives were expected to board the ship and obtain a copy of the security video tape and statements.
The following day, the Security Officer told one of her friends aboard the ship that he was a “former PD Detective in the Sex Crimes Unit and she should just drop it, because there is nothing she can do about it.”; He also confided to one of her friends aboard ship that, The security surveillance video showed the assailant and another male in the group discussing something, while sitting next to her clearly passed out in the lounge. Later on, the security surveillance tapes showed the assailant basically carrying her back to her room.
No one ever interviewed her witnesses. We heard nothing from the PD, until it was finally transferred to the Kauai PD. The first time we spoke with anyone was on January 18, 2006. There was no copy or mention of the video tape in the original report, nor a copy of her medical examination. The detective was surprised to hear about the video. He claimed to have been told that the person who assaulted my daughter was terminated. According to my daughter’s friends still aboard the ship, he is still working there…. so someone is being very misleading.
I contacted the FBI, and after a month and a half, they finally interviewed my daughter. Furthermore, after a month and half, a detective finally boarded the ship, began interviewing witnesses, finding out if the assailant was still aboard the ship, questioning the whereabouts of the video recording and information about the security officer, why no rape kit was done, and why this incident had not been reported to the authorities.
The detective also confirmed that there have been at least five sexual assaults reported aboard that same ship in the last 4 months of 2005. Although these do not involve the same person, the circumstances are similar, as well as and reaction by the Cruise Line. According to the Detective not one of these incidents were reported by the Ship authorities–only by the victims. None of these cases were prosecuted because of lack of evidence collected while on board the ship.
This angers me tremendously. My daughter was victimized three times…
- the actual assault…
- the way the security guard handled it, and…
- The manner in which the Cruise Line acted, when they terminated her.
My daughter is not the same person, since she came home. She is depressed. If I ask her information about the incident to give to authorities or if I suggest that she seek counseling to talk about it, she gets very angry.
I contacted my State Senators and Congressional Representatives… I would like to see new laws enacted, which will require cruise lines, regardless of where the ship is registered, but when in U.S. Territorial Waters, they must comply with these laws. There should be trained Law Enforcement individuals aboard all cruise ships, who do not work for the cruise line. Thus, when a crime is committed those officials would be responsible for collecting evidence, taking statements, and investigating the crime, giving a much better chance for conviction. If the cruise line does not comply, they should be suspended from operating within U.S. Territorial Waters. This would affect their financial base dramatically. Then, you would see significant changes from the cruise line industry. For years, they have not complied, even when it is the morally correct thing to do. Only until it affects their bottom-line will things change.
I was shocked to learn that in the last 5 years only 3% of all sexual assaults reported aboard cruise lines are convicted… and only because the assailant confessed. None of these convictions resulted in an FBI investigation. In fact, I cannot find one case were an FBI investigation has led to a convection of a sexual assault aboard a cruise ship.
People need to be held responsible.