A Littleton cruise company offering high-end river sailings on 4 continents was sued by the mother of 17-year-old girl. The teenager was allegedly raped by a bartender. Last year he targeted the girl during Christmas-time excursion in southeast Asia.
The lawsuit against Avalon Waterways accuses the company of not properly protecting the Californian girl, in part because the company allegedly failed to learn from sexual assaults reported throughout the cruising industry.
Avalon is a registered name for Group Voyagers Inc., also in Littleton, according to business records filed with the Colorado secretary of state. The name registration has expired, records show.
Group Voyagers is known as the Globus family of brands, which touts itself as the largest tour operator worldwide with about 500,000 passengers yearly. Originally a New York company, it has been in Colorado since 1997, records show.
Its owner, Kevin Ford, did not immediately respond to Denver Post efforts to reach him.
The lawsuit claims the unidentified girl, who was 16 at the time, was traveling with her mother and suffered undisclosed permanent physical and emotional injuries as a result of the attack.
Efforts to reach the family or their attorney were unsuccessful.
The cruise ran along the upper part of the Irrawaddy River, which bisects Myanmar, a country that sits along the Bay of Bengal just north of Thailand, from Dec. 20 to Dec. 30, 2015, the lawsuit says.
One of the crew, a bartender identified only as Louie, continuously followed the girl aboard the boat and joined her and her mother during excursions on land.
The assault allegedly happened on the last day of the cruise in a restroom, the lawsuit says.
The cruise contract dictates any dispute be resolved first through mediation, which the lawsuit says the family unsuccessfully tried to initiate from August through October 2016. The federal case was filed in U.S District Court in Denver on Dec. 3.
The problem of sexual assaults on cruise ships is a long-running theme in the vacation industry, with much of the concern over lax prosecution since many of the assaults happen on international waters. From 2010 through 2014, the most recent data available, more than 150 cases of alleged rape or sexual assault aboard cruise ships stopping in U.S. ports were reported, according to FBI and U.S. Coast Guard statistics.
Although U.S. laws require that passengers have access to sexual assault exam kits on board, as well as any medical attention, it does not apply to non-American ships cruising other countries.
For reports on other cruise ship accidents see at CruiseMinus.com