Male Passenger Faces up to Life in Prison for Sexual Assault of Seatmate

Aug 20, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A male Spirit Airlines passenger has been convicted of sexual abuse for undressing and fondling a woman flying next to him on an overnight flight from Las Vegas to Detroit in January.

A federal jury convicted 35-year-old Prabhu Ramamoorthy on Thursday of sexual abuse on board an aircraft for digitally penetrating the victim, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan says. He could face up to a lifetime in prison after he’s sentenced on December 12. Because he’s on a US work visa, Ramamoorthy would also face deportation after his sentence is served, CNN reports. However, the criminal complaint did not identify his home country.

The victim, a 22-year-old woman, says she fell asleep on the flight leaning against the window when she suddenly woke up to the passenger next to her with his hand down her pants and both her pants and shirt unbuttoned and the passenger next to her, Ramamoorthy, fondling her, the criminal complaint obtained by CNN states. The woman immediately told a flight attendant what happened.

In a written statement included with the complaint, Ramamoorthy said he was in a “deep sleep” and that “through my knowledge I didn’t [sic] anything to her.” Then he said in an interview with an FBI agent that he had touched the passenger’s breasts over her clothes and “might have” undone the victim’s bra and unzipped her pants and fondled her.

The jury deliberated for less than four hours before convicting Ramamoorthy.

“Everyone has the right to be secure and safe when they travel on airplanes,” US Attorney Matthew Schneider said. “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. We appreciate the victim in this case for her courage to speak out.”
Reports of in-flight sexual assault is increasing at an “alarming rate,” the FBI said in June. Sexual misconduct on board commercial aircraft has increased 66% from 2014 to 2017, the FBI says, but officials are not sure why. Many cases go unreported, but in 2017 the FBI opened 63 in-flight sexual assault investigations.
Mid-air sexual abuse is a felony that can land a perpetrator in prison for 10 years up to a life sentence. Over the last year, women passengers have sued Delta and United for not apprehending passengers who allegedly assaulted them during flights with the airlines.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.