Man accused of raping 13-year-old on cruise ship sent to Florida to stand trial

BREVARD COUNTY, FL (WESH/CNN) - An Oregon man has been extradited to Florida to stand trial for committing an alleged sex crime against a 13-year-old girl while in a cruise ship hot tub.

Justin Dolson, 27, is being held on $15,000 bond on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim under the age of 16.

Prosecutors say Dolson took a cruise a year ago on the Norwegian Epic out of Port Canaveral, FL. While in international waters during the cruise, investigators say he lured a 13-year-old girl from Indiana into a hot tub and committed a sex crime.

Justin Dolson, 27, is being held on $15,000 bond on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim under the age of 16. (Source: WESH/Hearst/CNN)
Justin Dolson, 27, is being held on $15,000 bond on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim under the age of 16. (Source: WESH/Hearst/CNN) (Source: WESH/Hearst/CNN)

"There was video from the ship that did show them in the hot tub together. It does not show any of the activity, of course, which took place underwater, but there was some evidence that they had been together and were in the hot tub together,” said Tod Goodyear with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

Dolson spent months fighting extradition to Florida, but prosecutors finally obtained a governor’s warrant that forced his arrest and transport to Brevard County, where he faced a judge Friday.

Typically, the Federal Bureau of Investigation would handle crimes committed in international waters, but county and state authorities went after Dolson hard.

"The state of Florida can take the charges when something happens in transit or in international waters, as long as it’s not in the port of another country,” Goodyear said.

The Epic cruise ship has faced other troubles in recent months. Dozens of passengers were arrested on drug charges in January, and the ship crashed into a Puerto Rico dock in February.

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