A 15-year-old girl from Iowa, who was vacationing with her family on a Royal Caribbean cruise liner for Christmas, has accused two fellow passengers of raping her on the ship.
Luiz Scavone, 20, and another 15-year-old boy are accused of luring the teenager from a teen nightclub on the ship to a private room where the incident is said to have occurred.
Both suspects, Brazilian nationals, were arrested when the ship returned to Port Everglades, Florida on Tuesday.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports, the girl’s family departed Fort Lauderdale on Christmas for a ten-day cruise to St Thomas, St Maarten, St Kitts and Haiti aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.
The girl told police she met the 15-year-old boy on the last night of the cruise at an on-board teen club called Fuel, and he invited her to a party in his private room, where Luiz Scavone was waiting.
According to arrest documents, both males refused to allow her to leave and raped her.
The girl immediately reported the alleged incident to ship officials, who alerted the FBI. Both suspects were arrested once the ship returned to Port Everglades.
Luiz Scavone is accused of one count of committing a lewd and lascivious act.
Appearing in court on Wednesday, Luiz Scavone’s bond was set at $10,000. He was being held at the Broward County Main Jail on Wednesday pending an immigration hold.
According to the probable cause affidavit obtained by the Sentinel, the second defendant was charged with lewd and lascivious battery and taken to Broward’s Juvenile Assessment Center.
Cynthia Martinez, the manager of Global Corporate Communications for Royal Caribbean, said in a statement: “Royal Caribbean’s guest care team offered the female guest a variety of assistance, including medical care and counseling.”
Cynthia Martinez said Royal Caribbean “will continue to support law enforcement agencies during their investigation”.
International maritime law states that cruise ships must take every measure possible to ensure the safety of their passengers. However, since each country has its own version of laws on the high seas, they can be difficult to sort out.
There is no federal law for statutory rape on the high seas.
This isn’t the first case of an alleged underage sexual assault seen aboard a cruise liner in recent memory.
The incident comes only weeks after a Carnival Cruise Lines employee was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl who was on holiday with her family.
And only ten days prior, 19-year-old Dylan Cole Bloodsworth, from Alabama, was sentenced to ten years in prison for raping a 13-year-old girl on-board a Carnival cruise ship in Mexico, where she was vacationing with her family.