(6:40 a.m. EDT) -- A former Cunard employee has pleaded guilty at Swindon Crown Court to 12 charges of child abuse under the Sexual Offences Act, including assaulting children, and taking, making and possessing indecent images of children while working onboard Cunard's three ships.
The offences took place when Paul Trotter, from West Yorkshire, worked in the children's clubs onboard between 2007 and 2011 and came to light eight months ago following a tip-off to the police regarding indecent images held on his computer.
Cunard has cooperated fully with the investigation, a statement from the line said, and has worked with the U.K.'s National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) to offer support to the families involved and to review and audit its own childcare policies.
Cunard's president, Peter Shanks, commented in the same statement: “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.”
These include a change in recruitment procedure, details of which have not been disclosed; new training for youth staff and management positions; and improvements in onboard supervision of the children's clubs, including new spot checks by senior officers.
Trotter has been remanded in custody until May 11 and will be sentenced at a later date.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor