A 15 year-old girl, who was vacationing with her family on a ten day cruise that returned to Port Everglades on January 3rd, 2012, was raped by 20-year-old Luiz Scavone and another 15-year-old teenager. The young girl was lured from “Fuel”, the ship’s teen dance club, to a private cabin by the 15-year-old male, where she was told she was meeting friends for a party in the cabin. But when the girl entered the cabin, instead of seeing friends, she was face to face with Scavone who, with the help of the other male passenger, forcibly restrained her in the cabin. They ripped off her clothes, forced oral sex, and then both raped her. The Broward Sheriff’s Office said that the victim was unable to stop her assailants even though she repeatedly said “no” and begged them to stop while trying to fight her way out of the cabin.
According to the arrest report, the victim reported the assault immediately. Royal Carribean notified the FBI and BSO, and both alleged assailants were arrested at Port Everglades. Scavone, Brazilian, was arraigned at a first-appearance court hearing on Wednesday when he stood before Judge John Hurley. Scavone is accused of one count of lewd and lascivious act on a minor and faces a $10,000 bond. Judge Hurley also ordered Scavone to relinquish his Brazilian passport. Luiz Scavone is currently behind bars in a Broward County jail pending an immigration hold. The minor assailant was also charged with one count of lewd and lascivious battery and transported to Broward’s Juvenile Assessment Center.
This tragedy is unfortunately not an isolated occurrence on cruise ships. In an article of January 2007, the LA Times revealed that “Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the world’s second-largest cruise operator after Carnival Corp., accounted for 66 of the 178 reports of sexual assaults. But internal company records turned over as part of a civil lawsuit — and obtained by The Times — revealed that at least 273 people told Royal Caribbean that they had been the victims of sexual assault, battery, harassment and inappropriate touching during a shorter time period.” (over 32 months) Read the article here
Safety and security of cruise ship passengers, even if claimed by cruise lines as their paramount concern, has been all but neglected. Cruise lines refuse to implement proven security measures including additional security guards, monitoring closed-circuit cameras around the clock, or increasing visual police force to deter criminals. Allure of the Seas is the largest ship in the world and has a capacity of well over 6,300 people. While there are hundreds of cruise ship employees manning the restaurants, bars, clubs, malls, and shows, on the other hand this city on water has a minuscule number of employees assigned to passenger safety and security. As such, sexual assaults and other criminal acts on cruise ships are neither ever prevented nor stopped until it is too late.
The law firm of Leesfield Scolaro represents victims of sexual assaults on cruise ships throughout Florida and the rest of the country. Leesfield Scolaro’ maritime law practice is one of the nation’s leading advocates for victims assaulted or seriously injured while at sea. Our firm will continue to take steps to advance our work on behalf of victims who need accomplished attorneys fighting for their rights.