Rich Campbell, President of Atlantis Events, has issued a statement about the arrests of two men yesterday aboard an Atlantis-chartered cruise ship docked in the Caribbean island nation of Dominica. The men pleaded guilty today to charges of indecent exposure.
Campbell’s statement was posted to Atlantis’s Facebook page:
Please accept my apology for the late post, we have been at sea for the past 18 hours with limited internet access.
We appreciate the comments on this board regarding the incident in Dominica yesterday, but would sincerely ask that most of you get the facts correct before condemning Atlantis or Dominica for what happened. Here are the facts:
Yesterday morning around 9:30 am two of our guests were seen engaging in a sexual act outdoors on their balcony in full public view of the port and town. Not only did many of the residents witness the act, several of our guests saw this incident as well. The local authorities responded to a complaint by several residents. The two gentlemen were arrested on a misdemeanor charge of public indecency and detained overnight. They appeared in front of the local magistrate this morning, paid a small fine, and were released in full.
Please understand that the complaint and subsequent arrests had nothing to do with the guests’ sexual orientation, nor was any “anti-gay” law invoked. These guests were engaged in behavior that is inappropriate in any port of call, or major city for that matter.
The guests were never left on their own. We had both representatives from Atlantis and Celebrity cruises with them at all times during their ordeal and had our local representatives look after them last night. Furthermore, we worked closely with the US Embassy in Barbados to assure that their safety was always being monitored.
Atlantis had 2000 guests in port yesterday in Dominica and most of them had an outstanding time visiting the country. Celebrity Cruises has been extremely supportive, working with Atlantis to insure these guests’ safety and security despite their detention in Dominica. We commend them for their unwavering support through this incident.
In court today, reports Dominica News Online, the men (43-year-old Dennis Jay Mayer and 41-year-old John Robert Hart, both of California) claimed they weren’t actually having sex, but they did admit to public balcony nakedness.
“They were struck by the beautiful mountains, clear fresh water and beauty of the island,” their defense lawyer told the court, “and they also had a few cocktails, and so threw caution to the wind. They came here for a good time and did not mean to offend the laws of the country.”
After being chided as “rogues” and “vagabonds” by the judge, the men were each fined EC $2400, or about US $890. Considering they nearly faced charges for buggery (Dominican-speak for sodomy), which could have carried prison sentences of up to ten years, the men should probably be counting their blessings.
“They could have been charged with buggery,” Dominican Police Chief Cyril Carette said earlier today, “but because it is a very long process, we decided that it was in our best interest to deal expeditiously with the issue and get the individuals out of our island as quickly as possible.”