When Carnival Cruise Lines' Legend embarked on a Caribbean cruise on May 31, 2009 from Tampa, Florida passengers, some of them with children, had no idea that a convicted child molester was aboard with them.
Joseph Francis Rosales, 52, of Albuquerque, New Mexico is a convicted sex offender, who molested a child in Colorado and then moved to New Mexico.
While in Albuquerque police had a hard time running him down as he moved around constantly.
Families were on the vacation of their dreams, going to Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Belize and Roatan. What they didn't know is that among them was a man who may have been targeting other children while parents dropped their guard.
The media did the sloppiest of jobs reporting this story. They wouldn't say what day the ship left, what day it returned, which cruise line was involved, which cruise ship was involved or which port was involved. I have never seen such vague details in such an important story.
In fact, what little information they did share was not accurate. Mexico was said to the be the destination, but the ship never called in Mexico according to my sources.
Rosales was convicted of molesting a girl in Colorado and moved to Albuquerque in 2004. He has been hopping around, evading police monitoring, staying in hotels and alleged girl friends' homes.
Meanwhile, he was arrested again on May 9, 2009 for molesting another little girl. He was allowed to post bond and then disappeared.
US Customs agents in Florida in late May called police in Albuquerque saying Rosales had boarded a cruise ship that had been in the Caribbean and had entered Mexico [false]. A customs agent was able to get an officer on board the ship to take pictures of Rosales.
When police in New Mexico confirmed that the photographed man was their fugitive, customs agents arrested Rosales at 0718 hours on June 7, 2009 at 651 Channelside Drive in Tampa, Florida when Carnival Cruise Line's Legend returned.
He was booked into Hillsborough County Jail at 0827 hours and is being without bail on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender.
New Mexico police will go to Florida to bring Rosales back to face four felony charges including failing to register as a sex offender. Rosales is awaiting extradition back to New Mexico where he is facing four felony counts, including failing to register as a sex offender.
What is most appalling about this case is the length that the government and mainstream media went to protect the identity of the cruise line and ship that allowed his child molester aboard. No other news reports were able to identify these details.
Concealing this information makes it hard for parents who were cruising to know if their children were at risk.