March 14, 2008
Woman files lawsuit against AMR because passenger next to her masturbated while she slept
A 21-year-old Harris County woman filed a $200,000 lawsuit against American Airlines alleging employees on a flight to Los Angeles from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport failed to protect her while she slept from another passenger who masturbated to her and ejaculated in her hair, according to a lawsuit she filed last week in Tarrant County.
The Harris County woman alleges employees knew of the risks associated with failing to “police the passengers to ensure that passengers do not hurt one another,” the suit states.
Airline officials did not return calls seeking comment. In a statement to a Houston television station last year, a spokesman said the company regretted the incident, but the flight crew took appropriate action.
The woman and her lawyer could not be reached for comment. The Star-Telegram does not identify victims of sexual crimes.
Destined for a Spring Break visit with family and friends March 19, the woman flew from Houston to DFW Airport and had settled into her seat for the last leg of flight 2074 to Los Angeles about 11 p.m., the suit states. The woman slept most of the flight, but awoke about 20 minutes before landing when the pilot announced the plane was on decent into Los Angeles. When the woman opened her eyes, she saw that an unknown man had moved into the seat next to her and was staring at her as he masturbated, the suit states.
The woman turned toward the window in embarrassment and in an act of nervousness began to run her fingers through her hair where she noticed “a substantial amount of an extremely sticky substance in her hair,” the suit states.
The woman began to cry and tried to get the attention of a flight attendant, but was unsuccessful, the suit states. Finally a passenger in the row in front of the woman comforted her and verified the semen in her hair, the suit states.
When the plane landed, employee called airport police and the man was arrested.
The suit alleges that the during the investigation, American Airlines employees told police they witnessed the man move from his assigned seat into the row where the woman was sleeping.
The woman is seeking punitive damages and a jury trial.
-- Melissa Vargas