A Georgia family is suing Carnival Cruise Line claiming a drunk teen entered their child’s room and laid in bed with him during a 2016 Bahamas cruise.
Countess and Mark Williams are the parents of the child who was 10 at the time of the incident. We are not identifying the child because of his age and the nature of the allegations.
The family says they were on the Carnival Victory ship sailing out of Port Canaveral on June 6, 2016. They say they were traveling with their son and his cousin. They say the two children were booked in one room, with the parents booked in a room across the hall.
The parents say they closed the door to the children’s room while they napped and went to their room across the hall.
A short time later, Mr. Williams went to check on the boys and says he found an intoxicated 18-year-old lying in bed “cuddling” with their son.
“He just laid in the bed, had his arm wrapped around me and I realized I wasn’t in the bed alone,” the boy, identified in court documents as DW, told NBC 6. “Then a couple seconds later, my dad comes in the room.”
A Carnival statement said the teen had a "lifelong history of sleepwalking" and that he "accidentally entered the wrong cabin and climbed into what he thought was his own bed."
Mark Williams says the door to the cabin appeared fully closed but he says when he went to knock on it, it opened.
He says he was able to enter the room without using a key. The lawsuit alleges the cruise line should have known “that an unsecured cabin door could lead to entrance of a trespassing passenger, which could lead to harm to its passengers.”
The Carnival spokesperson said the door's lock was "working properly" and that suggests "the door was left ajar."
Mark Williams grabbed the teen, alerted security and the parents of the teen were called.
Carnival also disputes the teen was drunk. According to its statement, the cruise line said, "There is absolutely no evidence of an assault of any kind nor is there any evidence to suggest the teen who entered the cabin was served any alcohol on board."
The Williams family also blames the cruise line for what happened after they reported the incident.
She says her son was subjected to a rape examination the following day. The lawsuit alleges the boy was in a room with two adult male nurses and a female police officer. It says his pants and underwear were pulled down and an examination was done with ultra-violet lights. She says her son was confused, ashamed and embarrassed.
“He is not the same child,” she said. “He’s acting out, he is afraid, he is afraid to sleep in his own bed, he is afraid of the dark.”
The cruise line says the parents “consented to the shipboard medical examination.”
The lawsuit alleges the teen boy who intruded in the room was not given a sobriety test or a sexual examination.
An investigation that was done by ship security and police in the Bahamas did not lead to any criminal charges being filed.
The family is being represented by attorney Spencer Aronfeld.
“It was the first cruise they have ever taken,” Aronfeld said. “They had saved up money to take their son on this cruise. They believed they were safe.”
The man who intruded into the room is not currently named in the lawsuit.
Carnival sent the following statement:
This case involves a teenager with a lifelong history of sleepwalking who accidentally entered the wrong cabin and climbed into what he thought was his own bed. In the past few days the young man whose parents filed suit was deposed and confirmed that nothing untoward occurred. There is absolutely no evidence of an assault of any kind nor is there any evidence to suggest the teen who entered the cabin was served any alcohol on board. Examination and testing of the cabin door lock afterward confirmed the locking mechanism was working properly, which strongly suggests the door was left ajar. The sleepwalking teenager and his family have fully cooperated. The claims made in this lawsuit are baseless, and the timing of the plaintiff going public with these allegations is not coincidental. Plaintiff was deposed in Miami this week and the case was mediated (a court mandated process to explore settlement before a third party mediator) to an impasse. Carnival is vigorously defending itself and expects to be fully vindicated in this matter.