Captain Peter Russell, 64, of Bicker Road, Donington, UK, a small farming town, was convicted for sexually assaulting a child while he captained a Princess Cruises ship.
A 14-year-year-old child told her parents that she was sexually assaulted in her cabin, in her bed, as she slept by Princess Cruises' Captain Peter Russell. The thought of that is really just too hard to grasp. It was so hard to grasp, the child thought it was dream.
After arriving home from her cruise, the child realized it was not a dream. The girl began getting contacts from Russell on MSN Messenger, asking for nude photos of herself, engaging in indecent conversation and asking her to perform a sex act on herself while chatting online with him on her home computer. That was when the child realized it was no dream, and produced the chat transcripts for her parents.
Her parents contacted police and on October 14, 2010, having admitted the crime, Peter Russell was convicted of two charges of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity together with sexual activity in the presence of a child and a further charge of sexual activity with a child.
In a typical United Kingdom 'soft-on-child-sex crime' sentence, Russell was sentenced to only 9 months in prison and required to register as a sex offender in the United Kingdom for a period of 10 years. The light sentence was given because Russell's attorney said his client had a long history of honor at sea. That of course, might be because Russell was only caught for this one crime.
Are we to believe that Russell woke up one morning, late in his life, and decided to be a child molester? Or, was he like Dolphin Cruise Lines' owner James Dickson Bell II, who had been molesting children for decades, before he was caught and given life sentences?
It is unclear which ship Peter Russell was the captain aboard on during the attack, but records put him on both Sea Princess and Sun Princess in recent years. Captain Peter Russell was working for Carnival Corp since they purchased the Cunard Line in April 1998. Before that he had been employed with Cunard Line for a number of years. He retired at age 50 from Exxon as a tanker captain.
"Unfortunately sexual assaults against teenagers on cruise ships seems to be increasing. The use of date rape drugs also enters into the mix. It is my personal belief that the word is out, that sexual assaults on cruise ships do not get prosecuted. In our office we are getting more and more calls about these assaults which supports my theory that sexual predators know that they do not have to worry too much about prosecution for their crimes. This coupled with the belief by parents on cruises that they are totally safe on board the vessel can lead to catastrophic consequences. The parents let their teens roam the vessel, unaware that danger is lurking from both crew members and other passengers.
In handling these types of cases for over 30 years, I have only been aware of two prosecutions in the last year. These cases were prosecuted because Congress has been looking into the situation. One case resulted in a not guilty verdict. This involved an adult and it was her word against the crew members word. It was a classic he said, she said situation. The not guilty is surprising because most crew members are forbidden from socializing and drinking with passengers. The second case which involved a 14 year old girl resulted in a negotiated guilty plea and jail time. Hopefully as prosecutions increase, the sexual assaults will drop in frequency. However, I am not too hopeful about that occurring. In the meantime parents need to keep a close eye on their children.", said Mr. Lipcon.