Tamil Nadu man arrested in US for groping woman on flight

He had been charged with aggravated sexual abuse and held without bail after the flight landed.
Chennai: A 34-year-old man from Tamil Nadu has been arrested in the United States of America after a woman co-passenger on a flight complained of being sexually assaulted by him while asleep.  Prabhu Ramamoorthy, according to his Facebook profile hails from Vellakoil in Thanjavur district and did his engineering at a private college in Chennai. He has been working in USA as a project manager with a private firm for the past two and half years.  

He allegedly groped a 22-year-old woman who was seated next to him on a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Detroit, which landed on January 3, according to the Washington Post. 

Prabhu’s wife was also travelling with him. He had been charged with aggravated sexual abuse and held without bail after the flight landed. 

According to various US media reports, the victim claimed that she woke up to find her pants and shirt unbuttoned and his hands inside her pants, while his wife was seated next to him. 

US media quoted federal prosecutor Amanda Jawad as saying that Prabhu was seated between his wife and the victim and continued assaulting her until she woke up and went to report the incident to flight attendants. 

In a written statement, Ramamoorthy claimed that he had taken a pill and fallen asleep. He rubbished the victim’s claims, saying he had learned from his wife that the woman was ‘sleeping on his knees.’

According to a report, judge Steven Whalen said, “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 offence, particularly egregious and the defendant even more of a danger to the community is the fact that it took place on an aeroplane. He was brazen enough to do this basically in public, next to his wife where anyone could have seen him,” calling the incident a “very unusual case.”

He ordered Ramamoorthy to be held pending trial following the prosecutor’s argument that Ramamoorthy was a flight risk and a potential danger to others around him.

Ramamoorthy’s lawyer Richard O’Neill offered to turn in Ramamoorthy’s passport and said, “There have been no allegations from anywhere that his behaviour has ever been inappropriate prior to this incident.”

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