Disney Cruise Line worker accused of molesting passenger, police say

By Mike DeForest, Reporter, mdeforest@clickorlando.com
Michelle Dendy, ClickOrlando.com Web Editor, mdendy@clickorlando.com
Published On: Apr 10 2014 05:22:29 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 11 2014 05:27:29 PM EDT

A Disney Cruise Line employee is arrested after being accused of molesting 13-year-old passenger.

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. -

A Disney Cruise Line employee was arrested on Thursday after Canaveral Port Authority officials say he was accused of molesting 13-year-old passenger.

Disney Cruise Line steward Ahmed Sofyan, 36, of Jakarta, Indonesia, was charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and one count of false imprisonment, officials said.

Canaveral Port Authority police say they were called to Charles M. Rowland Drive by Disney Cruise Lines just after 8 a.m. Thursday in reference to a molestation that occurred aboard the Disney Dream ship while it was docked in Port Canaveral.

The victim was a 13-year-old girl that did not know Sofyan, according to police. Police said Sofyan lured her into an unoccupied cabin and touched the victim inappropriately against her will.

When the victim tried to leave and asked to leave several times, Sofyan tightened his hold on her and wouldn't let her leave, according to the report. Sofyan let the victim go when she told him her parents would be looking for her and they would find out about it, police said.

Sofyan told police that he knew his behavior was wrong and that he was aware that the victim was 13 years old, according to the report.

The investigation led to Sofyan being arrested and transported to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Jail.

“We have no tolerance whatsoever for the behavior alleged in this incident,” said Karl Holz, President of Disney Cruise Line, in a release. “We are sorry that anything of this nature could have occurred on one of our ships. We place enormous value on the trust our guests have in us, and nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of each and every one of our guests.”

When Disney Cruise Line officials found out about the alleged attack, they said they immediately alerted Port Canaveral police, as well as the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard.

Disney's response to this incident is much different than what the cruise line did in August 2012, when surveillance cameras captured another employee cornering an 11-year-old girl in a ship's elevator, where he allegedly fondled and kissed her.

Records obtained by Local 6 confirm Disney security had reviewed the video and identified the employee before the ship left Port Canaveral.

However, cruise line officials did not immediately notify local law enforcement at the time. Instead, the ship left the U.S. and headed to the Bahamas.

Once there, Disney paid for the employee, Milton Braganza, to fly back to his home in India after the girl's family declined to press charges.

Port Canaveral police said Braganza should have been arrested in 2012, just as Sofyan was arrested Wednesday for a similar crime.

Sofyan has been terminated as an employee from Disney Cruise Line. His bond was set at $315,000 and he will be unable to leave the U.S. if he's released.

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