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Carnival Reveals Sex Claims Against Crew

From Associated Press

Carnival Cruise Lines has disclosed that its crew members were accused of sexual assault 62 times in a five-year span ending last summer, and a former employee who says she was raped claims the company tried to cover it up.

Carnival disclosed the scope of the assaults Tuesday under orders from a judge who is hearing the woman’s lawsuit against the Miami-based cruise line. The complaints involve alleged incidents among the crew and between the crew and passengers.

“The number of alleged incidents--and bear in mind that it is a list of allegations, not necessarily substantiated incidents--includes everything from sexual harassment complaints by crew to an unwanted kiss to matters of a more serious sexual nature,” Carnival attorney Curtis Mase said. “Many of the incidents do not involve alleged rape.”

The woman, who worked for Carnival for three years before she quit in 1998, alleged that a fellow officer raped her last August in her cabin aboard the cruise ship Imagination.

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Gary Fox, an attorney for the woman, said Carnival tried to cover up the incident and “assisted the perpetrator in fleeing the country back to Italy before the FBI could question and detain him.”

But Mase said the alleged assailant, Italian engineer Yurij Senes, was fired for drinking within six hours of going on duty and for being tardy. He said that Senes was sent to Italy “in accordance with federal repatriation laws” for fired workers.

Senes was charged in September with one federal count of rape on the high seas, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, said U.S. Atty. Jennifer Prior in Miami. Trial is set for November.

The woman is seeking unspecified damages and wants Carnival to supply ships with special kits for rape victims and to assist prosecutors’ efforts to win Senes’ extradition.

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Mase said the cruise line carried more than 6.5 million guests along with tens of thousands of crew members during the five-year period when the incidents allegedly occurred.

Carnival has responded to cover-up charges by saying it is “at least 10 times more likely for a sexual assault to occur in a small town in America than on a cruise ship.”


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