We’re hoping that this report can serve as a warning to women travellers planning to take a nap during their flight. There have been a few recent reported incidents of women being groped as they slept on the way to their destination.
The latest alleged groping took place on a flight from Miami to Ronald Reagan National Airport last Wednesday. In the alleged incident, a woman on an American Airlines flight, told her seatmate, Saurabh Agarwal, that she would fall asleep right after takeoff, which she promptly did. She awoke to Agarwal’s hand inside her bra fondling her breast. Out of fear, she pretended to still be asleep. When a refreshment cart approached, he asked he if she’d like a drink, but she kept up the pretense of sleep. Once the flight attendant moved on, he continued to fondle her breast.
She pretended to wake up, left her seat to go to the bathroom, and reported the incident to the flight crew. There was an eyewitness to the assault, who at first thought that the two were together, until she saw the victim crying while reporting the incident.
Agarwal was taken into custody by a federal marshal and charged with abusive sexual contact.
In a second incident that’s just coming to light as it makes its way into court, a Brett Zorse, who was traveling with his 12-year-old son, allegedly assaulted a sleeping woman on a JetBlue flight to from San Francisco to New York last year.
Throughout the flight, the woman conversed with Zorse and stated that his conversation turned sexual in nature. After taking medication to sleep through the rest of the flight, the woman woke up 40 minutes before arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport to Zorse massaging her thigh underneath her skirt. When she demanded to know what he was doing, he replied that it wasn’t like he was molesting her and he could go for a massage right now.
After the alleged incident, the woman told left her seat in tears and returned just before landing. She didn’t report the assault to authorities or airline workers initially; she later e-mailed JetBlue and contacted New York police. Zorse has been charged with simple assault and could spend up to six months in jail if convicted of the misdemeanor.
Article by Amy Tokic