Lawsuit: American Airlines Failed To Protect Girl From Passenger Accused Of Touching Her Inappropriately

The parents of a girl who said she was touched inappropriately while she was flying alone on an American Airlines flight to New York from Iowa in July have sued the airline, claiming it failed to protect her.

The family is also suing the 57-year-old man accused of groping the girl: he was arrested after the flight on charges including engaging in sexual contact with a victim between the ages of 12 and 16, charges he denies.

The girl texted her mother on the flight, reporting that she’d woken up to a man who’d moved into the open seat next to her inappropriately touching her with his foot and then his hand, reports the Associated Press.

“I can’t move cause the seat belt sign is on and I want to get away,” the girl said in texts turned over to the FBI, according to the lawsuit. She also texted her mother that she was scared, and that the man tried to touch her genitals.

When he left his seat to go to the bathroom, the girl told a flight attendant, who moved her to an empty seat in first class. The airline reported the incident to authorities and an FBI agent met the suspect when the flight stopped in Chicago. But the family’s attorney says American Airlines should’ve put her in a seat where she could be monitored. The airline charges $150 extra for minors traveling alone.

“American cares deeply about our young passengers and is committed to providing a safe travel experience for them,” an airline spokesman said in a statement. “We take these matters very seriously and have cooperated fully and immediately with law enforcement’s investigation of the suspect.”

Iowa parents sue American Airlines and passenger after inappropriate touching incident [Associated Press]

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