Monday, 23 April, 2018

Man accused of sexually assaulting sleeping woman on Spirit Airlines flight

Supermoon JUSTIN TALLIS AFP Getty Images
Jay Anderson | 05 January, 2018, 14:57

The victim told investigators that she woke up to discover the fellow passenger shoving his fingers inside her trousers and "vigorously moving them", according to a federal criminal complaint.

Subsequently, the woman complained about the incident to a flight attendant. When she woke up, she saw the buttons of her shirt and her pants open.

The teen - an unaccompanied minor on crutches due to a foot injury - had told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that a 45-year-old pilot gripped her butt, touched her inner thigh and partly leaned on her as she was sleeping in her window seat, the Free Press reported at the time. They said she was crying when she went to talk to them and had the buttons of her trousers and shirt unbuttoned.

According to a Daily Mail report, Ramamoorthy was arrested by Wayne County Airport Authority after the flight landed at Detroit Metro Airport. But the prosecutor said that "flight attendants did not report that anyone asked them to change seats other than the victim".

Ramamoorthy denied the charges and told the police that he was asleep after he had taken a pill, as the BBC broadcasts.

According to Federal prosecutor Amanda Jawad, Ramamoorthy was sitting between his wife and the victim.

Ramamoorthy gave "conflicting reports", about what happened with the victim, Jawad said. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen ordered Ramamoorthy to be held pending trial.




The entire incident took place in presence of the wife of the accused, who was sitting next to him.

"It seems that she's either colluding with the defendant to cover up his actions or she's completely oblivious to what he did", Jawad argued.

Ramamoorthy's lawyer, Richard O'Neill, had offered to turn over his client's passport.

Spirit Airline officials did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman with Spirit Airlines said in an email that it is cooperating with law enforcement.

Sexual harassment and abuse on airplanes is a largely unreported but prevalent issue for passengers, according to a report by the Seattle Times.

According to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, a union for flight attendants, one out of five flight attendants surveyed from a group of 2,000 previous year said they had received a report of a passenger being sexually assaulted.

In the U.S., the number of sexual assault cases has only increased in the last few years.

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