Woman flew “the friendly skies” and says she got groped by off-duty pilot while she was sleeping
July 11, 2018
(NATIONAL) – A Colorado woman is suing United Airlines for allegedly failing to protect her from an off-duty FedEx pilot she says groped her sexually three times during a flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco.
Air travelers in their seats in the Economy Class cabin on board an Airbus A340-200. 2006 Photo by Marcos R. [GNU Free Doc. Lic.]
NBC News reports the suit was filed in Denver federal court on July 5 and comes during a time there is “an alarming rise in sexual assaults on flights under the jurisdiction of U.S. authorities.”
According to NBC, the suits alleges that a Tennessee man, Monte Wedl was served three or four vodka sodas and then took a dose of Ambien before he began the harassment “of his Row 8 neighbor in business class.”
That would be the plaintiff in the suit, Anne Maureen Dowling who claims Wedl’s actions started as she dozed off for a “long, trans-Pacific flight” on July 9, 2016.
The suit claims things got started when Wedl got out of his seat and approached a United flight attendant, “And told her that he had been away from home for two months, he missed his wife, and he is horny."
Wedl was told to return to his seat, and he did, but after dozing off the suit alleges, "Dowling awoke to find Wedl’s hand on the back of her leg near her buttock.” She claims she shooed him off her but then awoke again to find "Wedl’s hand rubbing her thigh, grabbing her butt, and attempting to reach into her pants. She cried 'stop' and he withdrew his hand from her body. She asked him what he was doing, and he creepily smiled at her in response,” says the suit which adds that things escalated from there.
NBC quoted a United spokesman as saying they cannot comment on this case because of pending litigation, but that “safety is our top priority.” The network reported that Wedl was acquitted last year after the U.S. attorney in San Francisco filed a criminal assault case against him based on Dowling's allegations.
The lawsuit says the plaintiff sought medical care and counseling after that flight and the incidents, had to take time off work and suffered post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the assaults.
More on the story here .