On August 21, 2018, a cruise passenger — identified as Jane Doe — filed a lawsuit against Celebrity Cruises and Canyon Ranch Spa alleging she was sexual assaulted by a crew member while traveling aboard the Celebrity Summit cruise ship (between New Jersey and Bermuda) just a year ago.
As alleged in the complaint and reported by media, Doe was approached by a crew member who claimed to work for the Canyon Ranch spa and who was offering complimentary massages. Doe says that she was subsequently led to a spa room where she was forcibly and inappropriately touched by the same crew member. More specifically, it is alleged that the crew member fondled her breasts and vaginal area. Doe says that she was able to escape the room before the massage progressed further.
In the complaint, Doe alleges that the Defendants were negligent in failing to perform an adequate background check. Had they done so, the danger posed by the crew member could have been discovered and the crew member, in the first place, would not have been hired. This is a common problem with hiring crew from third world countries or countries with limited infrastructure and criminal reporting procedures. Despite this risk cruise lines continue to hire from these countries because of the advantages of cheap labor. In the alternative, Doe alleges the crew member assailant should have been supervised more closely, and had that been done he would have been terminated, thus avoiding risk of harm to cruise passengers.