A doctor in the United States has been charged with groping a teenaged female co-passenger on board a United Airlines flight. The accused is a doctor from India, according to ABC News, though some other news reports said his country of origin is not clear.
A Student from US
The incident is said to have taken place on July 23 when the 16-year-old girl was travelling alone from Seattle to Newark, and woke up during the flight to find the co-passenger’s hand on her thigh, according to the complaint. The girl identified the man as Vijakumar Krishnappa, 28, who is studying in the US under a fellowship, after she was shown a line-up of photos compiled from the flight manifest during the investigation.
The federal complaint says that the man removed his hand when she woke up, and she went back to sleep, but woke up again to find him touching her “groin and inner thigh”. The girl informed the airline crew about the incident and changed her seat. However, United Airlines apparently did nothing to prevent the accused from leaving the airport, Johnny McCray, an attorney for the girl’s family, told The Washington Post. She informed her parents of the assault on her after landing, and the FBI was contacted to probe the case.
‘Airlines Did Nothing
A complaint describing the charge against Krishnappa was filed in federal court in New Jersey on July 24, following which he was arrested and charged with knowingly engaging in sexual contact with a minor female. The accused has been released on $50,000 bail and placed under electronic monitoring. He has also been ordered not to have any contact with minors while the criminal case is pending. His court-appointed attorney, John Yauch, said his client “adamantly denies the charges and deserves to be considered an innocent man,” and declined further comment, The Washington Post reported.
The girl’s family has also filed a complaint against United Airlines for failing to act against the man, according to NJ.com. The airline is reviewing the case with authorities, Fox News reported. “The safety and security of our customers is our top priority,” the airline said in a statement. “We take these allegations seriously and continue to work closely with the proper authorities as part of their review.”