Authorities arrested an Indian national after a 22-year-old woman told investigators that she woke up on a flight from Las Vegas to Detroit on Wednesday to find the man’s hand shoved down her pants and her clothing mussed, according to multiple reports.
The victim said she sat in a window seat next to Prabhu Ramamoorthy, 34, on a Spirit Airlines flight Wednesday, The Washington Post reported. On Ramamoorthy’s other side sat his wife, according to the newspaper.
When the victim awoke, she found “a hand in her pants and noticed that her pants and shirt were unbuttoned,” authorities said in a federal complaint obtained by the Detroit Free Press. She told authorities that the man seated next to her had his “fingers in her (genitals) and (was) vigorously moving them.”
He stopped when she awoke, according to the complaint.
Flight attendants told investigators that the victim was crying when she reported the alleged assault around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, while the flight was still in the air, according to the Post.
Ramamoorthy told investigators that he took a pill and was in a deep sleep when the alleged assault occurred, but he later told an FBI agent that he “might have” undone the woman’s bra and cupped her clothed breast, according to the Free Press.
“He also indicated that he unzipped her pants part-way, and did put his finger into her pants,” authorities said in the complaint. “He stated that he tried to put his finger in her vagina but was not successful.”
Both Ramamoorthy and his wife later told authorities that the pill Ramamoorthy took was “plain Tylenol,” the Post reported.
Authorities arrested Ramamoorthy on one count of aggravated sexual abuse, The Detroit News reported. He was ordered held without bond at a hearing Thursday after prosecutors argued that he was a flight risk since he isn’t a U.S. citizen, according to the newspaper.
“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,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Jawad said, according to the Post. “He was brazen enough to do this basically in public, next to his wife where anyone could have seen him.”
Richard O’Neill, Ramamoorthy’s attorney, said his client has worked as a project manager in the Detroit metropolitan area for more than two years, the News reported.
“I have a hard time with some of these allegations, but that’s what a trial is for,” O’Neill said, according to the News. “There have been no allegations from anywhere that his behavior has ever been inappropriate prior to this incident.”