Cruise Law News : Maritime Lawyer & Attorney : James M. Walker : Walker & O’Neill Law Firm : Admiralty Law, Cruise Ship Accidents & Injuries

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A judge in Illinois rejected a request by a man accused of being a sexual predator to go on a cruise with his wife. 

John K. Martynus, age 39, of Plainfield, Illinois, who counsels troubled children and works as a high school sports coach and referee, was arrested last week for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual tryst with a 13-year-old girl.  Martynus reportedly had just finished refereeing a basketball game and drove to a fast food restaurant, where he contacted who he thought was a 13 year old girl (actually an undercover officer) via text messages and asked to meet to have sex. 

After he was arrested, Martynus was released on bond on the condition that he not leave the U.S. or have contact with children.  Martynus and his wife had previously booked a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise to celebrate his wife’s birthday.  His defense lawyer asked the judge if Martynus could go on the cruise.  The state prosecution objected citing the order that Martynus must stay away from children. “There’s no way, when you’re on a cruise, to avoid that contact,” the state prosecutor is quoted as saying. 

Martynus’ defense lawyer, unfamiliar with cruises, told the judge: “There might not even be children on the cruise. It’s not a Disney cruise, it’s a Norwegian Cruise.” 

The judge denied the request, but said he might reconsider if Martynus could present evidence that the cruise would be adults-only.

This situation illustrates a problem that most families do not consider, namely that there are sexual predators on cruises.  None of the cruise lines conduct a background check on cruise passengers, and there is no law prohibiting sexual predators, accused or convicted, from cruising.  That’s why you have situations where a sexual predator can book a cruise for the express purpose of molesting a child, a situation which happened earlier this year on a Royal Caribbean cruise -Sexual Predator Abuses 6 Year Old Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas

This case is unique because the Judge entered an order forbidding the potential cruise passenger from leaving the U.S. or being around kids and would not budge when asked to modify his order. But once Martynus is tried and either convicted and serves a short jail sentence or he is acquited, he will be free to go on as many cruise as he likes - perhaps wearing his Charlie Brown shirt on cruise ships with children?           

Should sexual predators (accused or convicted) be permitted to cruise?  Should cruise lines perform background checks on passengers?  Should cruise lines warn passengers when a sexual predator is aboard the cruise ship? 

If you have an opinion of these issues, please leave a comment below.


Photo credits: 

Top photo    Sun-Times Media Wire (via

Bottom photo John Martynus Facebook page

Tags: Sexual Assault of Minors, children, cruise, john martynus, predator, sexual Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end Tomm – December 18, 2010 1:05 PM I most definitely think something has to change. I don’t know how they could regulate things but with all of the programs for children and teens on cruises something has to happen. I am very glad to hear this judge make the right call.

Henry @ Turning Winds – January 12, 2011 5:41 AM As a parent, I would definitely want that sexual predators wouldn’t be allowed on any cruise because there are always young people on board. He can do as many cruises as he would like if he is indeed proven to be harmless to kids or teens. For the meantime, I’m confident that the judge gave the right decision.

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