A Detroit-area man was convicted after a five-day trial by a federal jury for sexually assaulting a sleeping passenger on a Spirit Airlines flight in January.
Prabhu Ramamoorthy, from India, was charged with aggravated sexual abuse after the 22-year-old woman accused him of putting his hand in her pants and unbuttoning her shirt while she was sleeping against the window, the Detroit Free Press reports.
According to a federal complaint obtained by the Press, the woman claims she woke up as Ramamoorthy was putting his “fingers in her (genitals) and vigorously moving them,” and that he stopped once she was awake.
After he was taken into custody, Ramamoorthy admitted to an FBI agent that he “might have” unhooked the woman’s bra and “cupped her (clothed) breast,” but said he only put a finger in her pants and did not insert it into her vagina despite trying to, the federal complaint stated.
Prior to this, Ramamoorthy claimed he was in “deep sleep” at the time of the incident. He also alleged that the woman had fallen asleep on his knee, and he was unaware of where he had placed his hands.
Ramamoorthy appeared in a U.S. District Court on Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press reported. He had a detention hearing scheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday, the Detroit News added.
A representative for Spirit Airlines has stated that the company is cooperating with authorities.
Additional accusations of sexual assault among the airline industry have made headlines in the past several months, the most recent of which involved a man who was reported to be banned from flying with Alaska Airlines after allegedly touching a flight attendant’s buttocks. In December, a woman aboard a United Airlines flight accused a 73-year-old man of putting his hand between her thighs and groping her. And in October, a man from California plead guilty to groping a sleeping 16-year-old on an Alaskan Airlines flight.