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Ex-Cunard crew member sentenced to four years for sex offenses

A former Cunard crew member was sentenced at Swindon Crown Court on Friday to four years in prison for sexual assaults against children under his care while he was a Cunard employee.

Paul Trotter, 34, of Pontefract, West Yorkshire, received the four-year sentence along with an additional extended period of four years on license once released. Trotter was assigned a lifetime placement on the sex offenders' registry and banned from working with children.

The series of charges against Trotter involved 13 boys between seven and 13 years of age, and possession of more than 900 indecent images of children according to The Independent Web site. The court heard that Trotter filmed himself spanking the boys and used the films for his "sexual gratification."
In a statement following the sentencing, Cunard President Peter Shanks promised continued support for the families affected and announced that the U.K.'s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) had completed an audit of Cunard's childcare policies and programs.

"We are implementing the recommendations to make sure we have in place every possible check and safeguard for children," Shanks said, adding that the NSPCC will perform an annual audit of Cunard's procedures.

Trotter pleaded guilty in April to 12 charges of child abuse under the Sexual Offenses Act, including assaulting children and taking, making and possessing indecent images of children while working onboard Cunard's three ships. 

The offenses took place between November 2007 and August 2011 when Trotter worked in Cunard's "Play Zone" children's clubs onboard Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. The abuse came to light in August 2011 following a tip-off to the police.

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