Carnival Crew Member Charged With Sexual Battery, Jailed in Florida

Carnival provided Care Team assistance to the alleged victim. // Photo by Susan J. Young

A Carnival Cruise Lines stateroom steward, Yovany Suazo-Batiz, 46, a Honduran national, was arrested Saturday and charged with sexual battery of a person under 16 years of age as well as lewd and lascivious molestation, according to a report by Channel 9 television in Orlando, FL

The Brevard County, FL, sheriff's office reported that Suazo-Batiz was taken into custody in relation to the incident, which allegedly occurred on the Carnival Valor as it was completing the end of a seven-day eastern Caribbean sailing.

Apparently, Suazo-Batiz first began speaking with the male victim in the sauna area. The teenager told authorities he moved to a shower area to get away from Batiz, but that's when Suazo-Batiz allegedly engaged in inappropriate sexual contact.

The victim reported it to his father, who detained Suazo-Batiz with help from other cruise passengers, until the ship's security personnel arrived. 

Law enforcement officers from the sheriff's office Special Victims and Crime Scene Units boarded the ship after it docked at Port Canaveral, FL, on Saturday. The FBI is also investigating. 

Carnival spokeswoman Aly Bello-Cabreriza provided this statement to Travel Agent: 

"On Friday, August 14, we received a report of an alleged sexual contact between a male teenage guest and a crew member on board Carnival Valor. Law enforcement authorities including the FBI and Brevard County Sheriff's Department were immediately notified while full support and assistance was provided to the guest.

The statement continued: "We extend our appreciation to both federal and local law enforcement agencies for their support and are continuing to provide Care Team assistance to the alleged victim."

Bello-Cabreriza told Channel 9 that all Carnival crewmembers undergo background checks before hiring. Suazo-Batiz is being held in the Brevard County Jail on a $95,000 bond.  

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