Man accused of sexual assault on US flight

The man is accused of sexually assaulting a passenger while sitting between his own wife and the alleged victim during an overnight flight

US authorities arrested a 34-year-old Indian man after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her on an overnight flight.

Prabhu Ramamoorthy, 34, was sitting between his own wife and the alleged victim, officials say. The man is an Indian national living in the United States on a temporary visa.

The woman said she had woken up to find her shirt and trousers unbuttoned and the suspect’s hand in her trousers.

The woman said she had woken up to find her shirt and trousers unbuttoned and the suspect's hand in her trousers during a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas that landed in Detroit early 3 January.

Federal prosecutor Amanda Jawad said that Ramamoorthy sat between his wife and the victim. He stopped after the victim woke up, and the woman went to the back of the plane to report the incident to a flight attendant, the criminal complaint said.

Ramamoorthy denied the accusations, telling police he was himself asleep after taking a pill.

Two flight attendants told federal investigators that the victim was crying and that her shirt was untied and that her pants were unbuttoned when she reported the incident at about 5:30 a.m., 40 minutes before the plane’s landing, Jawad said

Ramamoorthy was arrested after the plane landed, according to court documents.

He said he had taken a pill and fallen into a deep sleep, Jawad said, and that he hadn’t done anything besides learning from his wife that the 22-year-old woman was sleeping on his knees.

His wife told officials a similar story and said that they had called the flight attendants to try to change seats.

But the “flight attendants did not report that anyone asked them to change seats other than the victim,” Jawad said

Ramamoorthy gave “conflicting reports,” about what happened with the victim, Jawad said.

Ramamoorthy’s lawyer, Richard O’Neill, had offered to turn over his client’s passport. He said Ramamoorthy had worked as a project manager at a technology group for about two and a half years.

“There’s been no allegations from anywhere that his behavior has ever been inappropriate prior to this incident,” O’Neill said. “I have a hard time with some of these allegations, but that’s what a trial is for.”

O’Neill did not return a request for comment Thursday.

Stephen Schuler, a spokesman for Spirit, said that it was cooperating with law enforcement on the incident.


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