Published on Monday, August 20, 2018

Passenger faces possible life sentence after fondling sleeping woman on overnight flight

A man who sexually abused a female passenger on an overnight flight faces a lifelong prison sentence.

Prabhu Ramamoorthy, aged 35, will be sentenced in December after being found guilty of the offence, according to the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

The abuse occurred on a Spirit Airlines' flight from Las Vegas to Detroit in January.

His 22-year-old victim, who was seated next to Ramamoorthy, fell asleep during the flight and woke to find his hand down her trousers, which had been unbuttoned. She told prosecutors her shirt was also unbuttoned and he was fondling her.

She immediately alerted a flight attendant and Ramamoorthy was arrested when the flight landed. He said in a written statement that he was 'in a deep sleep' and he was unaware of doing anything to the woman, but during an interview with an FBI agent he allegedly admitted that he 'might have' undone the woman's bra and trousers and tried to fondle her.

After the trial, US attorney Matthew Schneider praised the victim for speaking out about the abuse.

"Everyone has the right to be secure and safe when they travel on airplanes," he said. "We will not tolerate the behaviour of anyone who takes advantage of victims who are in a vulnerable position, and we are glad the jury agreed. We appreciate the victim in this case for her courage to speak out."

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