Milton Braganza, a 33-year-old dining room server from Goa, India, allegedly fondled the girl’s breasts and forcibly kissed her shortly after the Brazilian adolescent boarded the Disney Dream ship on August 5 with her grandmother and sister for a five-night journey to the Bahamas.
Since Florida authorities were not informed, the suspect stayed aboard the ship as it set sail and has since been released by police in the Bahamas to return to his home country, angering U.S.officials.
Surveillance video shows the young passenger encountering the cruise line employee at 2:54pm, near the elevators shortly after she boarded the ship. According to estimates, a five day journey on a Disney cruises costs an average of $900 per person.
The girl boarded the elevator, where she said the man grabbed her breast, groped her and then kissed her, putting ‘mouth on mouth,’ she said according to a cruise security report. She informed her grandmother of the assault and minutes later video shows the girl, her grandmother and her sister emerging from an elevator and making their way to the ship’s customer service desk to report the crime.
Security officers on the ship began investigating an ‘inappropriate sexual act’ at 3:22pm and at 4:40pm the dining room manager reviewed the video and identified the man in the footage as Milton Braganza.
There are more than 1,458 employees crew members who work on the ship. The ship left the port at 5:02pm. Braganza was called to report into security at 7:50pm. Florida law enforcement were informed of the incident several hours later, on August 6.
Though the crime is alleged to have occurred nine months ago, details are just coming to light as the cruise line has been criticized for not immediately alerting Florida authorities of the molestation.
Because the incident occurred while the ship was docked, police in Port Canaveral would have jurisdiction because the ship was 1,000 feet from shore, Port Canaveral police chief Joseph Hellebrand told WKMG-TV.
Since they were not immediately informed, the suspect wasn’t questioned by U.S. police or apprehended.
Instead, Braganza was questioned by Bahamian police on August 7 in Nassau because the Disney Dream is flagged with the Bahamian flag.When the kid-friendly cruise arrived in Nassau, Bahamas, the suspect was interviewed by local police
During the interrogation, Milton Braganza admitted to police in the Bahamas, ‘I touched her on her right breast with my left hand,’ according to a police report.
Two days into the trip though, the girl’s grandmother told authorities that she did not want the crime investigated. Authorities in the Bahamas let Braganza go and Disney paid for the man’s airfare back to his native India.
If it had been investigated in Florida, charges would have proceeded against the man in spite of the grandmother’s opinion, Chief Hillebrand said.Florida law enforcement are dumbfounded as to why officials would let the man go free.
A spokesman for Disney Cruise Line told the local TV station that the company ‘took proper action’ in responding to the passenger’s allegations.The company has maintained that cruise line officials did not know an alleged crime had occurred until after the ship had left Florida.(DM)