Indian Man Arrested After Woman Accuses Him of Sexual Assault on U.S. Flight
The man was travelling with his wife when the alleged incident took place on a Las Vegas-Detroit flight.
An Indian man traveling from Las Vegas to Detroit was arrested after his co-passenger accused him of sexual assault during the flight. Prabhu Ramamoorthy, 34, was traveling with his wife when the alleged incident took place.
Ramamoorthy, who is in the United States on a temporary visa, was arrested at the Wayne County Airport Authority and charged with aggravated sexual abuse. He was held without bail after he was brought to court in Michigan on Jan. 4. Ramamoorthy works for a Troy-based information technology company. If found guilty, he can go to prison for up to five years.
The 22-year-old woman was sitting on the window seat next to Ramamoorthy on a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas, which landed in Detroit early on Jan. 3. The victim said she woke up to find her pants and shirt unbuttoned and that he had his hands inside her pants. She woke up and reported the alleged attack around 5.30 am. The flight attendants kept her with them at the back of the flight and later gave her a different seat.
Ramamoorthy’s wife, who was sitting on his other side, later went to the back of the aircraft to see what was going on, Federal prosecutor Amanda Jawad said. The Indian man told the police that he had taken a pill and went to sleep. His wife told him that the 22-year-old girl was sleeping on his knees. It was later found that he had taken Tylenol, which is a brand of paracetamol.
His wife said that they had contact the flight attendants to change their seats but Jawad said in court that apart from the complainant nobody else contacted them to change seats.
Jawad argued that Ramamoorthy and his wife were on temporary visa and that he was at flight risk and a potential danger to others. He was taken into custody without bail.
U.S. Executive Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen said the allegations were “odd” and told Ramamoorthy to appeal against the detention order.
“It seems that she’s (wife) either colluding with the defendant to cover up his actions or she’s completely oblivious to what he did,” Jawad argued, according to Washington Post. “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,” he added.
“I have a hard time with some of these allegations but that’s what a trial is for,” defense lawyer Richard O’Neill said, according to Detroit News. “There have been no allegations from anywhere that his behavior has ever been inappropriate prior to this incident.”
Ramamoorthy told an FBI agent that he “might have” undone the woman’s bra and cupped her breast, according to Detroit News. He also said that he unzipped her pants and tried to digitally penetrate her but couldn’t, according to court records, the report added.