Authorities Investigate Sexual Assault of Minor on Celebrity Cruise

July 16, 2013
(3 p.m. EDT) -- An investigation is underway after the alleged sexual assault of a minor aboard a June 23 Celebrity Century sailing to Alaska.

A statement from Celebrity says a 12-year-old girl reported being inappropriately touched on the chest by a 30-year-old man on June 28.

Special Agent Eric Gonzalez of the F.B.I. field office in Anchorage told Cruise Critic that, because the alleged incident took place in Alaskan waters, within the jurisdiction of the Alaska State Troopers, it's not a federal issue. As a result, the F.B.I. relinquished control of the case.

A report from the F.B.I., submitted to the Alaska State Troopers on July 8, 2013, says the incident allegedly happened in the ship's pool area while the victim was walking with a friend shortly after the ship left Ketchikan.

According to the report, the ship's security team was alerted, followed by local law enforcement and the F.B.I. An investigation was conducted by the Vancouver Police Department when the ship arrived in Vancouver on June 30.

The Ketchikan District Attorney's Office, which received the case from the state troopers, will decide whether to prosecute the alleged offender. "If a trooper sees someone breaking the law, he can make an arrest, but in cases where it's 'he said this, he said this, he said this,' it's just a matter of taking statements and seeing 'what evidence is there?'" Megan Peters, information officer for the Alaska State Troopers, told Cruise Critic. "Then we hand it over to the D.A. to determine if it's prosecutable under law."

The Ketchikan District Attorney's Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the status of the investigation.

We'll keep you posted as more information becomes available.

--by Ashley Kosciolek, Associate Editor