Updated: February 27, 2021
A judge in the United States has ruled that a man who penetrated a sleeping woman with his fingers while she was asleep during a flight would spend nine years in prison.
Prabhu Ramamoorthy was sentenced on Thursday, 11 months after he was arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on January 3 and later charged with aggravated sexual abuse.
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He attacked his victim, a 22-year old passenger, who was asleep on a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Detroit.
Ramamoorthy was convicted of sexual abuse in August after a five-day trial.
He is in the US on a work visa and will be deported once he has served his sentence, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan said in a statement Thursday.
“Everyone has the right to be secure and safe when they travel on airplanes,” US Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement, according to several local newspapers.
“We will not tolerate the behavior of anyone who takes advantage of victims who are in a vulnerable position. We appreciate the victim in this case for her courage to speak out.”
The passenger told authorities she was asleep in the window seat and woke up with her shirt and pants undone and Ramamoorthy’s hand down her pants, according to the criminal complaint.
“She stated that the man next to her was shoving his fingers in her vagina and vigorously moving them,” according to the criminal complaint.
It was the sexual assault that woke her up, prosecutors said, adding that the woman sought help from flight attendants immediately.
At the time of the incident a spokesperson for Spirit Airlines said they are fully cooperating with law enforcement.
According to the Detroit News, Ramamoorthy’s wife was sitting in the other seat next to him.
Upon his arrest, Ramamoorthy allegedly told authorities that he “might have” undone the woman’s bra “while playing with it.” He also said he cupped her breasts over her clothes, according to the criminal complaint.
“He stated that he tried to put his fingers in her vagina but was not successful,” the criminal complaint reads.