Carnival Cruise Lines has settled before trial a sex-attack lawsuit that forced the big cruise operator to make public an embarrassing accounting of 108 sex-assault charges, Carnival spokesman Tim Gallagher said. Terms were being kept secret as part of the settlement.
The suit was brought by a 29-year-old nurse who claimed she had been raped by another crewmember aboard Carnival's Imagination during August 1998.
A trial in the case, whose plaintiff was never publicly identified, was scheduled to begin in a Miami court next week
. The suit alleged that Carnival's screening of staff was poor and inadequate.
Known for its Fun Ships, the Carnival Cruise Lines unit of Carnival Corp. last July disclosed in court papers filed for the case that passengers and crew had lodged 108 charges of molestations, rape and other sex attacks at sea during the five years through August 1998. Carnival said its ships carry two million passengers a year and that the level of alleged sex attacks was statistically lower than in a typical U.S. suburb. After a torrent of bad publicity resulting from the charges, cruise lines carrying 80 percent of North American passengers announced a get-tough policy for on-board crimes and pledged to report any allegations of sex attacks to police onshore.