CRUISE | Disney sex pest pleads guilty

Originally posted in Tradewinds, 2010/09/28

A New Yorker faces 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to the sexual assault of a teenage girl onboard a Disney Cruise Lines vessel almost four years ago.

The incident onboard the 1,754-berth Disney Wonder (built 1999) between Florida and the Bahamas in 2007 saw a 13-year old girl attacked.

Lucas Wickes, a 25-year-old from Rochester, pleaded guilty in a US federal court on Monday to abusive sexual contact with the girl on New Year’s Day that year after the ship had set sail from Port Canaveral.

The accused encountered the victim, believed to be a Canadian national living in the US, outside the Bahamas-flagged ship’s teen club and told her to follow him to the rear of the ship where the abuse occurred.

Wickes, who was 21 at the time of the incident, had told prosecutors that he believed the girl was 17 years old. He now faces 10 years in prison, the maximum term for the crime.

Security personnel onboard the ship were first alerted to the incident when the girl alleged she was approached by a male who apparently wanted to show her something on the lower deck. When she rebuffed his offer the man allegedly threatened to throw her overboard.

Authorities onboard notified the FBI and the man was arrested by Bahamian police when the ship docked at Nassau some days later.

Prosecutors in the Bahamas failed to convict Wickes in a rape case in 2008. He was, however, ordered to pay a $10,000 fine or serve six months in jail, choosing to pay the fine.

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