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Crew member accused of rape on cruise

March 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Princess cruise liner returned to an L.A. port on Monday after a passenger alleged a member of the ship's crew committed sexual assault.Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents were at the port of San Pedro Monday investigating allegations that a passenger sailing aboard a Princess Cruises ship was sexually assaulted by a crew member.

The Princess Cruises boat is called the Coral Princess and it has been berthed since 7 a.m. Monday. FBI agents have been onboard investigating allegations of a sexual assault.

The attack allegedly happened two days ago, according to a statement by Princess Cruises. The alleged attacker was a crew member. The victim was a passenger.

The 14-day cruise took passengers to the Panama Canal.

The FBI confirms that an arrest has made in the case.

A Princess Cruises spokeswoman says that as soon as the incident was reported, the crew followed crime-response protocol. That means that the area of the alleged assault was sealed. The suspect was restricted to his quarters and those quarters were guarded. Medical assistance was provided to the passenger.

Crimes of this sort are not uncommon. The FBI investigates more sexual assaults than any other crime that happens on the high seas. There were 41 cases reported in a five-month period. Ten million Americans take cruise lines as vacations every year.

The investigation is proceeding. One suspect is under arrest and he will be appearing before a judge Tueday.

Statement from Coral Princess:

"Two days prior to the conclusion of Coral Princess' cruise which concluded today in Los Angeles, there was an allegation of sexual assault made by a passenger against a member of the ship's crew. As soon as this allegation was brought to shipboard management's attention, the FBI was contacted, as is our standard practice.

"Following the allegation, we also put into place our crime response protocol including sealing off the area of the alleged assault, restricting the crew member to his quarters with a security posting, and providing medical and other assistance to the passenger. We are fully cooperating with the authorities in this matter.

"The FBI boarded Coral Princess this morning upon its return to the Port of Los Angeles to investigate.

"Coral Princess was on a 14-day Panama Canal sailing between Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles."


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