I had previously reported about sexual assaults on cruise ships, including sexual assaults on minors. This has been an ongoing problem on cruise ships for many years, and has called the public’s attention to the fact that crimes, including sexual assaults, occur on board cruise ships at a much greater frequency than was known or expected.
Recently, a 29-year-old crewmember, actually an assistant cruise director for Norwegian Cruise Lines working on board the cruise ship Norwegian Star was arrested for having sexual relations with a 16-year-old passenger that was travelling with her parents.
Not only was Senad Djedovic, an assistant cruise director, arrested for having sexual relations with a 16-year-old, the F.B.I. located videos of child pornography on his computer’s hard drive. Also alarmingly, they located very graphic e-mails, including sexually-explicit photos, that he exchanged with the 16-year-old passenger. “I miss you big time….you little young girl” is one of the reported messages.
Djedovic had been an employee with Norwegian Cruise Lines for approximately six years, and the incident in question happened aboard the NCL cruise ship the Norwegian Star. He has been arrested for having sexual relations with a minor and possessing inappropriate pictures of the 16-year-old victim as well as pictures of other minors on his computer. He is also facing federal child pornography charges.
Djedovic admitted he knew the age of his victim before he engaged in sexual relations in the stairwell on board the cruise ship during the last night of the cruise.
The 16-year-old passenger is from Minnesota, and she was sailing on a seven day cruise aboard the Norwegian Star.
His computer was seized, and the child pornography that was located on his hard drive included a folder entitled “Scandals”. In this folder there were videos of sexual acts with 12 to 15-year-old girls which he had downloaded from the internet.
Horror stories like this, and other sexual assaults that I have handled over the 30 years I have been handling maritime cases, including sexual assaults and rapes on board cruise ships, again raises the question as to the extent of the background checks that are done on the crewmembers working aboard the many cruise ships. We know with the mega cruise ships there are 2,000 plus crewmembers on board during any given cruise. They come from all parts of the world.
The recent Costa Concordia disaster focused on the nature and extent of the training the crewmembers received to handle emergency evacuations. Incidents such as sexual assaults committed by crewmembers also raises the question that must be looked into by our Congress, which is how extensive are the background checks of these employees before they are permitted to work on board a cruise ship. We learned not too long ago that a children’s activities supervisor aboard a Cunard cruise ship was arrested for child sexual abuse. This is extremely alarming, and has to worry any parent who goes on a cruise with their children.
Hopefully this sick individual will be put behind bars and receive the treatment by the appropriate mental health care providers that he obviously desperately needs. As a father of three girls, I am horrified when I hear about incidents like this. I know from my 30 years of handling maritime cases that most parents let their guards down once they’re on board a cruise ship and let their children roam freely. This is a mistake. It is easy to get a false sense of security on board a cruise ship. Do not let this happen to you. Crimes do happen on cruise ships, including sexual assaults. Your children need to be closely watched and supervised.
Our Miami based maritime law firm handles personal injury and wrongful death actions involving boating and cruise ship incidents, including sexual assaults and rapes.