A cruise ship crewmember has been jailed for using a key given to him for restocking cabin minibars to sneak into the cabin of a sleeping female passenger and grope her intimately. The crime reportedly happened on Royal Caribbean International’s big new flagship Quantum of the Seas, which was launched just last October.
The crewmember, Karan Seechurn, 26, has now been sentenced by a federal court in Newark, New Jersey to 13 months in prison.
Seechurn, from Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, appeared shackled in chains and handcuffs at Newark federal court before Judge Michael A. Hammer over the matter early this year. He pleaded guilty in April to abusive sexual contact, CBS reported.
The sentence is considered lenient, with Cruise Law News reporting that because Seechurn has already served over seven months, he will receive credit for time in custody and will thus serve a maximum of five months and two weeks more. If released early, which is likely, he will serve less than a year in jail and will be home by Christmas, about a year after he committed the offence.
An affidavit filed by an FBI special agent laid out the case, stating:
“On or about December 23, 2014, defendant Karan Seechurn was a male employee, on board a cruise ship, which embarked from Bayonne, New Jersey, travelled to the Bahamas, and disembarked in Bayonne, New Jersey on December 27, 2014.
“Defendant Karan Seechurn was employed by the cruise line and was responsible for re-stocking the minibars located in passengers’ rooms. In order to conduct this duty, he was provided with a key that provided access to passengers’ rooms. On or about December 23, 2014, Karan Seechurn used this key to access passengers’ rooms when he was not authorized or permitted to do so.
“On or about December 23, 2014, a female passenger (the ‘Victim’) was sleeping in her room aboard the cruise ship. While the Victim was asleep, defendant Karan Seechurn entered the Victim’s room without her knowledge and permission. The Victim awoke to find one of defendant Karan Seechurn’s hands touching her genitalia, she pushed him off her and she tried to leave the room, but he pulled her back and threatened to burn down the cruise ship if she told anyone.”
Seechurn admitted he was off-duty when he entered the cabin and fondled the woman on 23 December 2014.
Seechurn had initially faced up to three years jail. Along with 13 months in prison, he was also sentenced to a year of supervised release.
Last month, a Disney crewmember who admitted molesting a passenger’s 13-year-old daughter on Disney Dream, after luring the girl into an unoccupied cabin, was sentenced to almost six years in jail.
Royal Caribbean issued the following statement after Seechurn was arrested: “This crew member’s actions are completely unacceptable and a blatant violation of our policies and procedures. Royal Caribbean International maintains strict policies governing employee interaction with guests. Crewmembers are not permitted to be in guest staterooms, except for the performance of their shipboard duties. Due to the violation of this policy, the crew member in question is no longer employed by Royal Caribbean.”
Written by Peter Needham