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Monday
Feb212011

Teen Speaks Out About Alleged Rape by Cruise Line Employee

Photo Courtesy - Dylan McCord/U.S. Navy via Getty Images (file)(MIAMI) -- When Darla and Enoch, who asked that their last names not be used, took their teenage daughter on an eight-day Caribbean cruise, the family never expected their dream vacation would turn into a nightmare.

After having trouble falling asleep one night during their 2009 Carnival cruise, Taylor, who was then 14, said she left her parents' cabin and went alone to an upper deck of the ship "Freedom" to write in her journal. It was there, she said, that Heri Krispiyanto, a 30-year-old Carnival cruise line employee from Indonesia who waited on the family during meals, found her and then raped her.

"He pulled me into an employee-only room," she said. "I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he was going to take care of me.

"He raped me, I kept saying, 'No,' but he didn't care," she said of the alleged rape. "He told me not to tell my parents, and he just unlocked the door and let me go."

After it was over, Taylor said she was shaking and afraid as she returned to her parents' cabin, but she didn't tell them what had happened. Even after returning home to Oklahoma, Taylor kept the incident a secret from her parents for the next three months until she became severely depressed.

After Taylor finally told her parents in August 2009, they were horrified. When Enoch heard about his daughter's alleged rape, he called the FBI but, by then, Krispiyanto was back in Indonesia. Nine months passed before the FBI located him at a U.S. port, while he was working for a different Carnival cruise ship.

Charles Lipcon of Miami, a cruise ship litigation attorney who represented Taylor and her family, said when the FBI first interviewed Krispyanto, he denied any wrongdoing.

"The FBI gave him a lie detector test and the waiter flunked the lie detector test," Lipcon said. "Then the waiter said, 'Oh, yeah, I did have sex with Taylor, but it was consensual.' Well, you can't have consensual sex with a 14-year-old. They're too young to consent and that's what led to the prosecution."

Lipcon and Taylor's family sued Carnival for sexual assault committed by a crew member. Krispiyanto later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of sex abuse of a minor and is serving a 3-year prison sentence in Seminole County Jail in Orlando, Fla.

A Carnival cruise line representative released a statement to ABC News apologizing again to Taylor and her parents: "We go to tremendous lengths to ensure a secure and enjoyable vacation environment for the more than 4 million passengers who sail with us each year. ... We are truly sorry that this tragic crime occurred and again want to express our deepest apologies to the victim and her family.”

Safety on cruises has become such a huge issue that Congress held hearings in 2006 and 2007 where they asked victims of alleged cruise ship crimes to testify. In July 2010, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act was passed and signed into law.

The law now requires cruise ships to report all allegations of crimes to the U.S. Coast Guard and the FBI, maintain functioning electronic surveillance cameras and use rape kits to collect evidence in cases of sexual assault.

Taylor, now 16, and her family settled their suit out of court with Carnival, and agreed not to disclose the settlement amount. However, they refused to sign a gag order, because, they said, they wanted to speak out about their ordeal.

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