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Press Release

Maryland Man Facing Federal Charges For Sexual Assault On A Cruise Ship

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Jalen Thomas Kelley, age 21, of Abingdon, Maryland, for aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse and assault within the territorial jurisdiction. Kelley was arrested by the FBI Charlotte Field Office in Wingate, North Carolina, on September 20, 2023.  

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

According to the indictment, between January 1, 2023 and January 2, 2023, the defendant engaged in a sexual act by force and assaulted Victim 1 without consent on board a cruise vessel Carnival Legend, which had a scheduled departure from and an arrival in Baltimore, Maryland.

If convicted, Kelley faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

This investigation is ongoing. Individuals who may have any information regarding this investigation are encouraged to contact the following: FBI Baltimore: 410-265-8080.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI for their work in the investigation and thanked Wingate University Campus Safety and Wingate Police Department for their assistance.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katelyn Semales and Sean Delaney, who are prosecuting the federal case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit and

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(410) 209-4854

Updated September 22, 2023