Parents of 3-Year-Old Suing Disney Cruises for $20M

Lawsuit alleges another child sexually assaulted toddler in front of staff
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2021 12:41 PM CDT
Parents of 3-Year-Old Suing Disney Cruises for $20M
File photo of a Disney Magic cruise ship at PortMiami.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Parents of a child in Vermont are suing the Disney Cruise Line for $20 million. They say their 3-year-old daughter was groped by a “significantly older child” while being looked after in the Oceaneer Club daycare for passengers ages 3-12, WCAX reports. They say their daughter was restrained, and staff “failed to recognize the sexual assault” and allowed it to continue. The parents say the assault happened on Jan. 9, 2020. The family’s lawyer, Michael Winkleman, said the incident was captured on surveillance video, the Miami Herald reports. Winkleman said the child started wetting the bed and showing signs of having been abused, which prompted the parents to get help from law enforcement, who found a video that shows the child being held down and touched in private areas by a child of about 10 who was dressed like Princess Leia.

Winkelman said the age and identity of the other child isn’t known, NBC News reports. The parents didn’t know anything was wrong until they got home, and the child tried to pull her father’s pants down and lie down with his eyes closed. A spokesperson for Disney dismissed the lawsuit as “wholly without merit,” saying the family have changed their story, and that the FBI and Brevard County Sheriff’s Office investigated and found nothing. Through their lawyer, the parents said they want to raise awareness of the “hidden dangers of sexual assaults on cruise ships,” People reports. (More child abuse stories.)

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