By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
COMMISSIONER of Police Ellison Greenslade said yesterday that Bahamian police did all they were required to do during their investigations into the molestation claims of an 11-year-old passenger on a Disney Cruise Line.
In fact police tried to investigate the matter further but were not allowed access to the child by the Grandmother, who refused police assistance, he said.
His comments came after United States officials were reportedly “up in arms” that a Disney Cruise Line employee, accused of molesting the young girl, was allegedly left unscathed when authorities in the Bahamas released him following questioning.
Greenslade said: “The matter occurred well over a year ago, it happened just off the coast of Florida and of course it was reported to us. Once that ship was in port in New Providence very qualified detectives responded and spoke with the authorities on board the ship, security personnel and leadership on the ship, in addition to speaking with the grandmother of the young victim.
“We were told that they wanted no further action and we were not allowed to see the child and the grandmother, who spoke for her, insisted it was a done deal and they did not want any further police involvement. The police force documented everything, maintained the file and that is the position. And so we are a bit surprised that a year later we are getting reports in the press speaking to the issue and certainly whenever those reports turn to adverse reports to the extent that we may seem to be incapable or incompetent.”
The child, with other relatives, according to several international news agencies, was on board the Disney Dream where the girl claimed that a 33-year-old Indian employee groped her and then forced her to kiss him mouth to mouth.
Bahamian authorities, because the ship is registered under the Bahamian flag, were responsible for interrogating the dining room server after the child’s grandmother reported the incident to the ship’s security. The molestation occurred when the ship was docked 1,000 feet from shore at Port Canaveral, Florida.
The incident, which occurred on August 6, 2012, was turned over to local authorities on August 7 because Carnival did no make an immediate report to Florida officials.
Had the matter been reported to the US authorities immediately, the accused could have faced a felony charge, which carries a sentencing of 25 years to life in prison.
There is now a fresh call for the matter to be reviewed.