Carnival cruise rapist gets 20 years in prison

Casey Dickerson sentenced for rape of 15 year old

A man found guilty of raping a 15 year old girl aboard the Carnival Sensation in August, was sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by 15 years supervised probation Monday.

A jury found Casey Dickerson guilty of aggravated sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse of a minor in December.

While aboard the ship, Dickerson and his wife had obtained a second room after they complained that their original room was too noisy.  However, the couple never ended up staying in the room.

The evening before the ship returned to Port Canaveral, Dickerson apparently lured a group of minors to the room with the promise of alcohol.  At that time, federal investigators said Dickerson raped a 15 year old girl while one of the male juveniles held her friend in the bathroom.

Dickerson and two other males took turns raping and performing sex acts on the girl while her friend was confined to the bathroom.

At sentencing today, the guardian of the victim said the girl is now in counseling and seeking the help of a mental health specialist to overcome the ordeal.

"I pray everyday to be able to get through this and have forgiveness and that she can have forgiveness as well," said Natasha Bennett, the aunt of the victim.

Bennett and the guardian of the victim's female companion recently filed a law suit against Carnival and Dickerson for the crime.

Dickerson's family and attorney asked the judge to minimize the sentence to 8 to 10 years, due to the fact that he did not have a prior criminal record and argued that the victim was not sexually assaulted with force.

"If someone was being raped in front of me I would not have allowed it to happen," said Dickerson who admitted to having sexual intercourse with the girl and providing the minors alcohol. 

Dickerson contended the encounter was a mistake and apologized but does not believe he forced the girl to have sex with himself or the juvenile boys.

The juveniles involved in the crime have not been charged and federal prosecutors would not say if any charges would be filed against them. 

Dickerson's attorney said he planned to appeal the verdict and sentencing and hoped to get it overturned.

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