An Indian man accused of undressing and molesting a sleeping woman on a Spirit Airlines could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
According to Attorney Matthew Schneider, after Prabhu Ramamoorthy has served his sentence, he would be deported to his country.
"Everyone has the right to be secure and safe when they travel on airplanes. We will not tolerate the behavior of anyone who takes advantage of victims who are in a vulnerable position, and we are glad the jury agreed," Schneider said. "We appreciate the victim in this case for her courage to speak out."
The 35-year-old initially told investigators he had taken a pill and fallen into a deep sleep during the flight and did not know where he had placed his hands. He also said his wife, who was sitting next to him, had told him the unidentified woman in the window seat was sleeping on his knees.
"Through my knowledge I didn't [sic] anything to her," Ramamoorthy said, according to the complaint.
Later, in an interview with an FBI agent, the assailant said he "might have" undone the woman's bra while playing with it, and that he had cupped her breasts over her clothes, the complaint stated.
Ramamoorthy said he unsuccessfully attempted to fondle the woman, however, evidence presented in court showed that he did in fact penetrate her, the attorney said.
UPDATE: Prabhu Ramamoorthy, the Indian man who’s being held without bail after a Thursday court appearance, was sitting in the middle seat of a Spirit flight headed to Detroit when a sexual attack allegedly happened. And what’s most shocking is that his wife was occupying the aisle seat while the victim was sitting in the window seat.
According to The Washington Post, the victim reported the sexual assault incident moments before the plane landed. Flight attendants said that the victim requested a seat change and was placed in the back of the plane after telling them about the attack.
She was allegedly crying and had her shirt and pants unbuttoned when she went to them for help.
While the victim was talking to flight attendants, The Washington Post reports, the alleged attacker’s wife went to the back of the plane and asked what was going on.
According to Ramamoorthy’s wife, the 22-year-old victim had been sleeping on her husband’s knees prior to the incident. The wife also claims that the couple had asked attendants to move her. Despite her claim, Spirit staff told reporters that only the victim requested a seat change.
Ramamoorthy is now being charged with aggravated sexual abuse.
The fact that the alleged attacker’s wife seems to be defending her husband may raise questions regarding the incident or the couple’s relationship. However, all accounts seem to support the victim's story, making us wonder if, perhaps, the wife is either oblivious or afraid for her husband.
An Indian man was arrested after a 22-year-old woman accused him of sexually assaulting her while she was asleep on a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Detroit.
Facing a charge of aggravated sexual abuse, Prabhu Ramamoorthy was arrested before his detention hearing on Thursday.
According to the federal complaint against the attacker, the victim had fallen asleep while leaning against the window. When she woke up, she said she saw the man with “a hand in her pants and noticed that her pants and shirt were unbuttoned.”
Additionally, the complaint stated, the woman noticed the man had his “fingers in her [genitals] and vigorously moving them. When she fully woke up, the man stopped.”
Clearly upset, the woman reported the attack to flight attendants.
After the man was taken by FBI agents, he stated that he “might have undone [the woman's] bra while playing with it, and that he had cupped her [clothed] breast,” the complaint added.
Officials also said that he admitted to unzipping the woman’s pants and that he claimed that while he tried to put his finger in her genitals, he was unsuccessful.
Before talking to the FBI agent, however, Ramamoorthy claimed that he had been in "deep sleep" while the assault allegedly happened, and that the victim had fallen asleep on his knees.
This horrific attack goes to show just how vulnerable women are while flying alone. Airlines should take this to heart and do all in their power to help protect passengers.
Hopefully, this attacker will be judged and sentenced accordingly. Sexual assault is a serious crime, and the punishment must be equally harsh, otherwise, others won’t be discouraged from taking part in similar attacks.
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