India

Indian national jailed over sex assault on US flight

Prabhu Ramamoorthy Image copyright Wayne County Sheriff's Office
Image caption The accused was sitting next to his wife when he assaulted someone sitting next to him

A US court has sentenced an Indian man to nine years in jail for sexually assaulting a woman who sat next to him on a US flight in January.

Prabhu Ramamoorthy, 34, was sitting between his wife and the victim, who said she was asleep at the time.

The woman said she had woken up to find her shirt and trousers unbuttoned and his hand in her trousers.

Ramamoorthy will be deported back to India after he serves his sentence, a federal court in Detroit said.

The prosecution had originally sought an 11-year jail term. But the US District Judge Terrence Berg concluded that nine years was sufficient for what he described as "an extremely serious offence," according to the Detroit Free Press.

When the accusations against Ramamoorthy surfaced, he had denied them, telling police he could not have committed the crime because he was also asleep.

Ramamoorthy was held without bail after appearing in a federal court in Michigan after prosecutors argued there was a risk he could abscond.

Prosecutors told the Washington Post that he had been charged with aggravated sexual abuse.

The woman reported the incident to crew shortly before the plane, belonging to Spirit Airlines, landed.

Ramamoorthy's wife alleged that the woman had been sleeping on her husband's knees.

She also said the couple had requested a flight attendant to seat the woman elsewhere.

But flight attendants told investigators that only the woman had asked for her seat to be changed.

They said she was crying when she came to them and that the buttons on her shirt and trousers were undone. They had then assigned her a different seat at the back of the plane.

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