A 34-year-old passenger was arrested by Michigan federal authorities after a woman said that he unbuttoned both her pants and shirt and put his hand down her pants when she fell asleep next to him in a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas that landed in Detroit early on Jan. 3.
The accused, Prabhu Ramamoorthy, was charged with aggravated sexual abuse and held without bail after an appearance in federal court in Michigan on Thursday.
Ramamoorthy sat between his wife and the victim, and once the victim woke up he stopped his indecent act, and the woman went to report the incident to a flight attendant in the back of the plane, said Amanda Jawad, the Federal prosecutor.
Two flight attendants reported that the victim came towards them crying with her clothes unbuttoned to report the alleged attack at about 5:30 a.m., They kept the victim in the back of the plane by offering her a different seat. Jawad said
According to court documents. The man was arrested once the plane landed.
In a written statement, He told agents, that he had taken a pill and fallen into a deep sleep, Jawad said, and that he had not done anything besides learning from his wife that the 22-year-old woman was sleeping on his knees.
Ramamoorthy gave “conflicting reports,” about what happened with the victim, Jawad said.
Magistrate Judge Steven Whalen, who said it was a “very unusual case,” ordered Ramamoorthy to be held pending trial after Jawad successfully argued that he was a flight risk and a potential danger to others around him. She also said that Ramamoorthy’s wife would not make a suitable custodian for 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. “What makes this offense particularly egregious and the defendant even more of a danger to the community is the fact that it took place on an airplane. He was brazen enough to do this basically in public, next to his wife where anyone could have seen him.”
Ramamoorthy’s lawyer, Richard O’Neill said, “There have been no allegations from anywhere that his behavior has ever been inappropriate prior to this incident,” O’Neill added. “I have a hard time with some of these allegations but that’s what a trial is for.”