Cruise Ship Employee Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse of a Minor
Baltimore, Maryland - Fabian Palmer, age 25, a Jamaican national employed on a cruise ship, pleaded guilty today to sexual abuse of a minor while on board the ship.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Major Michael Kundrat, Senior Commander of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police Major Michael Kundrat, Senior Commander of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police; and Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III of the Baltimore City Police Department.
“There must be appropriate punishment for crimes committed aboard cruise ships,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “People who abuse United States citizens on the high seas are subject to prosecution under federal law.”
According to the plea agreement, Palmer was employed by Royal Caribbean Cruises Inc. and was assigned to the Enchantment of the Seas. His duties included maintaining the pool areas on the vessel and in that capacity, he interacted with cruise passengers on a regular basis. The victim and her family boarded the vessel in Baltimore, Maryland, on December 17, 2011, to begin a one-week cruise. During that week, Palmer befriended the victim and spoke with her often. They also exchanged handwritten notes. As the cruise neared its end, Palmer invited the victim to meet him late in the evening at the gymnasium and spa area of the vessel. He took the victim into the male locker room, and then into the bathroom. There, Palmer and the victim engaged in a sexual act on the floor of the bathroom. The victim was 14 years of age at the time, and this conduct occurred within the special maritime jurisdiction of the United States.
As part of his plea agreement, Palmer must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
Palmer faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for sexual abuse of a minor. U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg has scheduled sentencing for June 29, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Maryland Transportation Authority Police and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. U.S. Attorney Rosenstein also recognized the Royal Caribbean Security officers who brought this matter to the attention of law enforcement and assisted in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney James G. Warwick, who prosecuted the case.