Update: Former Cunard Crewmember Accused of Child Abuse

February 14, 2012

(3:45 a.m. EST) -- A former Cunard crewmember has been charged with sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13 and possessing indecent images of children during the five years in which he worked for the line.

Paul Trotter, 34, of Pontrefact, West Yorkshire, was remanded into custody by Chippenham magistrates, in Wiltshire, on Monday, according to news reports. He is due to appear via video link at Swindon Magistrates' Court on Thursday to face charges for offences which are alleged to have occurred between December 2010 and January 2011. According to the BBC, Mr Trotter was first arrested in August 2011 when living in Salisbury and apparently left Cunard several months prior to the beginning of the investigation.

Trotter came under suspicion following a tip-off from the parents of one of the victims, according to a report in the Mail on Sunday. The newspaper reported that photographic and computer equipment at the man's home have been examined. All the families affected by the abuse, the report says, live in the U.K.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said officers were contacting all of the parents they needed to speak to in relation to the investigation.

A statement from Cunard said: "We are deeply shocked by these allegations as the safety and wellbeing of our customers is of paramount importance to us. A thorough police investigation is underway which we are supporting and co-operating with fully."

The line is working with children's charity NSPCC to offer help and support to families affected and concerned parents are asked to contact the NSPCC directly.

--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor; updated by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Content Editor