Aubrey Lane filed a lawsuit against American Airlines, alleging the airline served the man who sexually assaulted her too much alcohol.
During a redeye flight from Phoenix to New York on June 16, 2017, the man who sat next to Lane allegedly harassed her throughout the flight. He followed her to the bathroom at one point and sexually assaulted her.
“Knowing the clear dangers of intoxication and the sexual assault threats, especially on red eye flights, American offered no protection to Aubrey Lane…despite the verbal warnings of Passenger 12C and the obvious obnoxious, aggressive, threatening and intoxicated behavior of Passenger 12B,” the lawsuit said.
When the flight landed, airport police met with Lane, but her attacker wasn’t taken into custody at that time. The case was turned over to the FBI, but the agency hasn’t made any arrests yet.
When Lane first informed American Airlines about the incident last year, an employee said she had a nuisance claim and offered her $5,000 as a settlement. The carrier later apologized about how it responded to Lane’s claim and has since established new procedures for following up on reports of onboard disturbances.
“We are deeply troubled by any allegation of misconduct onboard our aircraft or at any of our facilities,” American Airlines’ spokesman Michelle Mohr said. “If our crew discover or are told about any alleged illegal misconduct that may occur on the aircraft, law enforcement is contacted and will meet the aircraft upon arrival…It is up to law enforcement to determine what, if any criminal activity, took place.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a sexual assault has occurred on a flight. In August, a jury convicted a man of sexually assaulting a woman on a plane while his wife sat next to him.
During a late-night flight from Las Vegas, 35-year-old Prabhu Ramamoorthy put his hands down the pants of the 22-year-old woman who was sitting next to him. She ran to the back of the plane to tell the flight attendants right away.
Ramamoorthy, an Indian national in the United States on a work visa, was convicted of sexual abuse and faces up to life in prison. He will be deported after he serves his sentence.