What was supposed to be a family vacation full of precious memories has seemingly turned into a nightmare for a family who took a Disney cruise last year.
According to WFLA, a married Vermont couple alleged that their 3-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted by another child on the ship and they are now suing the cruise line for $20 million. The alleged incident happened on Jan. 9, 2020, while the family took a seven-day cruise on the Disney Fantasy, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
The parents are being identified only as John and Jane Doe, and it is alleged that their daughter was in the Oceaneer Club when she was “physically restrained and sexually assaulted by a significantly older child.” The parents added that their 3-year-old “was excessively groped and sexually touched in her private parts by the older child and did not have the physical capability to break through the physical restraint” to stop the alleged sexual assault.
The lawsuit also claims that the crew members entered the room where the alleged assault had occurred “but failed to recognize the ongoing sexual assault.” “The assault occurred in what was the plain view of one or more Disney counselors/crew members,” according to the suit.
A spokesperson for Disney released a statement via email Friday that the lawsuit is “wholly without merit.”
“The plaintiffs’ first allegations were reported to the FBI, and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office investigated them and determined them to be unfounded. The plaintiffs have now come back with a different story, which is equally unfounded, that another young female child acted inappropriately with their child. We will vigorously defend this case in court.”
Michael Winkleman, an attorney for the parents, said Friday that his clients found out about the assault after they returned home from the cruise. Their daughter, who is fully potty trained, began having “wetting accidents” and tried to pull her father’s pants down after asking him to lie down with his eyes closed, Winkleman said.
“These incidents alerted them there was something amiss,” he said in an email.
However, the attorney acknowledged that “we do not even know the identity of the other minor involved yet.” The child’s age is unknown, too, Winkleman said.
The complaint lists five counts of negligence against the company. Are YOU shocked by this?