At around 0200 hours on Sunday, August 16, 2015, Jason Lawson, 32, and Arturo Martinez, 30 from Toledo, Ohio arrested aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines cruise ship Independence of the Seas when it docked (see video below) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lawson was charged with willful child abuse of a 13-year-old child and was sentence on January 30, 2017 to two years in prison. He is due to be released on January 30, 2019.
Martinez was sentenced to three years in prison for lewd and lascivious behavior with a child under 16.
The assault apparently began when the boy offered Larson’s daughter a keychain for her virginity. Lawson was angry over what he said was an inappropriate comment the 13-year-old victim made to his daughter.
Surveillance video on the ship shows the attack. In it, you can see three passengers entering the library, Arturo Martinez and Jason Lawson and the boy who was already in the library. The video shows the men cornering the teenager, before pinning him against the bookcase.
The video shows Martinez taking off his shirt while still having the boy cornered and dry humping the boy through their clothing. Lawson can be seen keeping passengers out of the library while the attack was underway.
The civil lawsuit court filing further alleges one of the defendants threatened to cut off his head and throw it overboard.
The family accused the cruise line of not protecting children at two o’clock in the morning in an unsupervised, common area of the cruise ship rarely used at that hour. The question on our mind related to this preventable child assault is this. What was a 13-year-old boy doing wandering the cruise ship at two o’clock in the morning after the teen center was long closed without his parents? Where were the parents when their son offered to give another child a keychain for her virginity?
- L.A. v Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (pdf file)
- Independence of the Seas Cruise Ship Tracker
- Independence of the Seas Cruise Ship Schedule
- Independence of the Seas Jamaica Excursion Accident
- Independence Of The Seas Miracle Baby Preemie
- Explosion Near Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Cruise Ship Independence of the Seas
Video: Independence of the Seas departing Fort Lauderdale