In yet another highly publicized, negative situation onboard cruise ships for 2012, The Telegraph of London is reporting that Paul Trotter, 34, has pleaded guilty to 24 sex offences, including taking and making indecent images of the children in his care onboard the ships of Cunard Line (www.cunard.com).
The Telegraph says Trotter admitted to making films of himself abusing the boys, most of whom were under the age of 13, on board Queen Mary 2, its sister vessel Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Victoria.
According to the newspaper, the sexual offenses occurred between November 2007 and August 2011. They went unreported until local police learned Trotter possessed indecent images. By examining his computer, the offenses were discovered and a search for the victims began.
Agents may read the full Telegraph story here: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9217354/Cunard-cruise-ship-worker-abused-children-in-his-care.html.
Cunard acknowledged that Trotter had pleaded guilty at Swindon Crown Court to a number of offenses and provided the following statement from Cunard President Peter Shanks, after the court proceedings concluded.
Cunard Statement from President Peter Shanks
“We were first made aware of these serious allegations eight months ago by Wiltshire Police and were deeply shocked by what we were told. Since then Cunard has provided full support and cooperation to the criminal investigation, and where possible within the constraints of the legal system, to the families involved.
“Our own feelings of shock are secondary to those of the families directly impacted. As a parent myself I can clearly understand the emotional pain and anguish they have suffered and endured since they were contacted by the police investigating this case.
“From the outset every family impacted by these appalling crimes has had our support. And by partnering with the NSPCC (The U.K.'s National Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), guidance and help from the experts in the field of child welfare has been offered. And accepted.
“Not only has the NSPCC been able to advise families but we asked them to conduct a thorough and comprehensive audit of our policies and procedures to make our safeguarding procedures for children as effective as possible.
“Paul Trotter was able to avoid detection despite all of our youth staff, including Mr. Trotter, having had their criminal records checked. We have closed circuit TV on board all of our ships, including all of the children’s clubs, and our own rules dictate that a minimum of two members of staff are to be with children at all times.
“Our safeguards were strict but sadly did not stop this one individual from managing to circumvent the system and manipulate those around him. We are now working with the NSPCC and have already identified changes in three key areas for improvement.
“Firstly, we have changed our recruitment procedures. Secondly, we will introduce new training for youth staff and management positions. Thirdly, we have already improved on board supervision of youth centres, including the introduction of spot checks by on board senior officers.
“We want to make sure that our policies and procedures are as robust as they possibly can be and therefore we will implement immediately any other recommendations that the NSPCC makes to improve our policies and practices.
“We will do everything in our power to put in place every possible safeguard for children so that we know we are doing all we can to protect them while they are on board our ships.
"With that in mind we have agreed with the NSPCC that we will develop a long term relationship with the aim to have the safest holiday experience for children and their parents.
“We could not meet with the families whose children were directly impacted by the despicable actions of Paul Trotter while the police investigation and legal process were on-going.
“Now that today’s hearing is concluded we will contact them directly to listen to their concerns and discuss at first hand how Cunard can possibly assist and support them and their children in the future.
"Should any families be concerned following this hearing the NSPCC is able to offer advice and support via a special helpline they have set up: 011.44.203.188.3550."