A man caught molesting a girl on camera was allowed to go free. Surveillance video from a Disney cruise ship caught crew member Milton Braganza following an 11-year-old girl into an elevator and hovering close by her for a few moments. You can't tell what exactly he's doing, but it definitely looks creepy. The girl, with her grandmother, accused Braganza of fondling her breasts and forcibly kissing her. What a terrifying incident for a young girl!
Braganza eventually confessed to molesting the girl, but there were no charges. Instead, after an investigation by Bahamian police, Disney paid to fly him home. We can only hope they also fired him. But the reason why he wasn't arrested sure looks shady.
The incident went down while the cruise ship was still docked in Port Canaveral, Florida. The girl got to her grandmother immediately and they both went to security to report the incident. Over four hours later, Braganza was called to security. But by then the ship had set sail. And Disney didn't inform the Florida police about the incident until hours later, so they couldn't investigate.
Instead, they let Bahamian police question Braganza. But here's the really crazy part -- by this time the grandmother changed her mind and decided not to press charges. (WHY???) And so, since Braganza had confessed, he was sent on his merry way and that's that. If they'd done the investigation in Florida, they would have pressed charges regardless of what Grandma wanted. So that's pretty screwed up, right?
Why didn't Disney turn the ship around and head back to Florida as soon as the incident had been reported? That would have been the most responsible thing to do. Since it happened in Florida, their police has jurisdiction over investigating. But instead, they kept it all quiet and headed over to the Bahamas where it could all be taking care of with greater discretion.
And what's even more troubling about this incident is that it's a Disney cruise line. I've been on one of those cruises, and they provide a LOT of child supervision for parents. There are kids' clubs where you can just drop off your kid in the hands of the crew for a couple hours. That's a lot of trust we're putting in that crew. Not to mention, it's such a child-friendly environment, you see kids all over the place, and not always accompanied by an adult. So you would think they would screen extremely well and then take any allegations of child molestation very seriously.
Disney says they "took proper action," but come on. I think they got it wrong when they kept sailing away from Florida. It kind of looks like they tried to brush the whole thing under the rug to protect their image -- and it backfired.
Now that the video has surfaced (this happened nine months ago), the Florida police may come back and investigate after all. Man, I am so disappointed in Disney. I expected much better from them. I hope they're scrambling now to set things right, because there's an awful lot of parents putting their trust in the crew members of those ships.
Do you think Disney mishandled this incident?
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